Longrain: Your Thai Food Paradise In Tokyo
The Aussie-Thai Import Brings Its Southeast Asian Soul To Ebisu
Originally from Australia, Longrain is a fun fusion of Thai, Japanese and Australian dining full of sweet and sour soul.
Walking into Longrain Tokyo, I was immediately hit with the liveliness of the otherwise posh-looking restaurant on the 39th floor of Yebisu Garden Place Tower. With Tunes like “Shout to the Top” by The Style Council playing in the background, it almost made me want to do a shoulder-shimmy as I walked down the length of the restaurant to my table — almost. Kudos to Sam Christie, the owner of Longrain, for handpicking the kickass beats.
After being seated next to large panoramic windows, I was suddenly struck by the romance of the atmosphere. A beautiful view of Tokyo painted black with little fireflies frozen in the night, the dim lighting of the restaurant, the way the green grew over the brick wall to my left, even the upbeat tunes— all of it coming together to create a charming dining experience.
Ping pong with a twist
First to arrive at our table was a Ping Pong, Longrain’s signature cocktail. A delicate vodka base, with crushed lychees and passion fruit shaken together, it was as refreshing as diving into a pool to escape the scorching Tokyo summer. To garnish, a plump skinless lychee on top.
The starter was equally exciting: A bite-size portion of prawns tossed with peanuts, watermelons and mint, a dish known as Miang Kham. The prawns were cleverly done three-ways; whole, air-dried and shaved into flakes allowing for substance, flavor and fragrance.
The second was another sumptuous dish (probably my new favorite meal), a green apple and jicama salad cut into matchsticks with a tangy chilli dressing topped with tossed dry coconut chips.
While we waited for Longrain’s specialty, the coveted egg net, we sipped on our second cocktail, the cleverly named Jungle Gin. Jungle Gin was made up of pineapple, aperol, and lemon with a generous helping of gin to bring it all together. The single pineapple leaf was an inviting garnish, cutting through the orangey color of the aperol.
A surprising signature dish
When the egg net arrived, our spoons were immediately cutting through the crisscrossed omelet and scooping up the fresh bean sprouts, along with thinly sliced pork, prawns and crushed peanuts. A punchy cucumber relish added an extra dimension, immediately lifting it to another level.
I caught the spicy aroma of the green curry before it even reached our table. Longrain’s original green curry paste was intense but beautiful. Simmered with prawns, Thai eggplant and baby corn, then drizzled with a creamy coconut milk and topped with sundried shrimplets (baby shrimp) and Thai sweet basil, the bowl was wiped clean with spoonfuls of Thai jasmine rice.
Squeezing in another cocktail, the Shiri Parin was the color of a calming ocean blue and one of the six mocktails that adorn the extensive drink menu. If there ever was a drink that would help me give up booze, this was it. Full of lychee, lemon, dragon fruit and mint, it was simply a pleasure to the palate.
Cry like a tiger
Next, the main dish: the Crying Tiger. The origin of the name is widely speculated on, but executive chef Griff says that Longrain has adopted one of the most famous tales, “it’s hot enough to make a tiger cry”. Fortunately it did not make my partner, or I, cry.
The plate was plain porcelain to showcase the impeccably chargrilled wagyu beef flank. Accompanying the “tiger” were the edible ornaments, the leafy coriander, mild mint, fleshy lime, and dried crushed chillies. The hot and sour sauce was true to its name and packed a punch, but it was in perfect harmony with the strips of beef flank and edible ornaments.
It’s worth mentioning the entertaining names the wines get: “Luscious and Fruity”, “Chardonnay and Friends”, “Juicy Reds”, etc. Hats off to the brain that came up with the witty way for all wine-idiots, like me, to feel less like one.
Both of our desserts were exquisite, balanced and best of all, dairy-free. The first beauty was a taro pudding with sweet coconut cream and praline cashew nut ice cream. Perched at the top were wafer-thin crunchy purple potatoes and a pinch of sea salt to balance out the sweetness.
The second was the perfect end-of-summer dessert. Being on the tail end of fig season, Aussie executive chef Griff put together an elegant mount of raspberry ripple ice cream, with seasonal figs, lychee, coconut and a butter oat biscuit crumble.
As the evening came to a close and we did all but lick the plates clean, we bid farewell to the manager and thanked him for a lovely evening.
I do have my eye on the caramelized pork hock with five spice, chilli and vinegar for my next timely visit to Longrain Tokyo. I have a feeling that it’s going to be sooner rather than later.
Address: Yebisu Garden Place Tower 39F, 4-20-3, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. (L.O. 3 p.m.) Dinner: 5:30 p.m.- 11 p.m. (L.O. 10:30 p.m.). Sat/Sun/Public Holidays: 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m. (L.O. 10:30 p.m.)