PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Early for your booking at Longrain Restaurant or just in dire need of strong and spicy cocktail to take the edge off a tough week? Wander downstairs and let Longrain Bar solve all the woes of the world. The concrete basement has been fitted out with army-print booth seating, a huge back-lit bar and comfortable lounges. While the upstairs restaurant is chic and refined, this has a grungier, edgy feel.
The drinks list is overwhelming with cocktails of every sort – long, short, martinis, stick drinks, virgin, plus a comprehensive spirit, wine and beer list. Not a murmur of dissatisfaction will be heard, even by the fussiest of drinkers, on browsing this list of potions. The vivacious bar tender suggests the My Thai Martini as a starter and it promptly arrives – looking somewhat intimidating. (Forget your standard fruit garnish on the edge of the martini glass, this baby comes with a raw chilli for those who dare.) And intimidating it should look, as intimidating it tastes. The first sip slams you straight up with smashed ginger, mint and cucumber. The lemongrass then lingers on the tongue while the chilli leaves a crisp aftertaste. It's punchy, it's powerful and it's the perfect way to pinch away at any knots of anxiety.
For something a little more girly, my friend opts for the Stickmata – a berry blend of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and slow berries topped with cranberry, vodka and fresh lime juice. The texture from the crushed berries slows our drinking speed and urges us to appreciate each sip. The drink takes us in a time machine where we reminisce about white sandy beaches, steamy heat and tasty Asian food. Our tummies grumble in desperate anticipation and, in fear another tipple will have us toppling over, we order some snacks.
The bar food features lamb fingers, prawn dumplings and deep-fried chicken. In the spirit of Martin Boetz, we get creative with a DIY betel leaf platter. We pick and choose between tiny dried shrimp, peanuts, cubes of lime, red onion, ginger and chilli and craft our own mouthfuls of sustenance. Next on the menu is salt and pepper tofu with a sweet soy and lime dipping sauce. My drinking partner, not a fan of tofu, is immediately converted and I take personal pride in sharing this experience with her. She loves it so much, we're tempted to order another.
In a town that seems to boast an overwhelming number of bars – this one sure is a keeper.