Trend seekers may have defected to mod-Asian diner Chin Chin earlier this year, but we still reckon that Longrain does some of the best elegant Thai in town. And have you ever been in just to drink at the bar? If you haven’t, put it in your brain diary pronto. The combination of a savvy team of waitstaff, killer cocktail makers and a shorter ,sharper menu for bar snacking makes Longrain a worthy inner-city proposition. And it’s about to get better: plans are afoot to rip the roof off next year and turn the upper floor into an exclusive bar with open courtyard. Sign us up.
For now, content yourself with one of the small tables that run down the side of the airy dining room. It’s a scraped brick warehouse-style space with kooky accents of camouflage-print and ceramic green scales that resemble a dragon hide. The island bar has 360 degree seating and holds court in the middle of the huge room, separating the diners from the drinkers.
Take your time with the drinks list – it’s long, starting with classics including a Martini that is chilled to an icy alcoholic syrup, and moves through to their custom ‘stick drinks’ which hit the sweet, sour and spicy notes hard. Try a Diablo Dojo mix-up of lime wedges muddled with coriander, chilli-infused tequila and sugar with a ginger beer float. It's fresh as hell, but be wary - this is the kind of drink that smiles sweetly at you and then kicks you in the kneecaps. For snacks, get sticky-fingered with carelamised cubes of pork hock, or try the betel leaves. You get a pinch of smoky flaked trout, sweet chilli, fine shards of gingery galangal root and a salty burst of fish roe all perched atop a peppery edible leaf. Wrap and roll baby.
With dim lights, sweet tunes and a casual vibe, you could as easily get romantic as get rowdy here, and while you might come for a quick one, chances are you’ll kick on – and come back again.