PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Longrain is one of the only restaurants on Sydney's burgeoning dining scene where waiting for a table is part of the pleasure of the experience. Well-practised Longrain patrons will have perfected the art of a right turn, left turn manoeuvre on entering the distractingly-beautiful restaurant. A right turn will lead you to the obliging maitre-d and a flurry of hip and polite waitstaff. After you've secured a spot on the super-organised waiting list, make a U-turn and slink into the candle-lit cocktail lounge. A muddled blend of pear vodka, sake, fresh pineapple, mint, tiki syrup, apple and lime juice called the Asia Carrera proves to be the perfect antidote to a wet and chilly Wednesday night. Almost sorry to stop clinking colourful concoctions at our cosy bar spot; we were ushered to one of Longrain's famous communal tables, which stretch down the cavernous dining space like a chic, urban cafeteria. The dining area is incredibly spacious, with sky-high wooden ceilings a relic from the restaurant's previous incarnation as an industrial warehouse.
First course was Longrain's signature betel leaf topped with smoked trout chilli garlic galangal and trout roe. All wrapped up, the edible leaf entree feels like a present you give your mouth as a treat for waiting so patiently in the cocktail bar. We were not alone in our betel leaf bliss. Like a culinary symphony, party after party indulged in chef Martin Boetz's magical blend of textures and flavours. Among many shared mains, a highlight was the shredded chicken salad – an expertly tousled hive of bean sprout tendrils, torn chicken, crunchy cashews and zesty chilli jam with a generous dose of coriander and lime to keep the dish fresh. Longrain injects Surry Hills with a spicy glow that continues to surprise and seduce Sydney palates.