A much-missed Sydney favourite finds a new home north of the border.
There are some restaurants that acquire legendary status not because they’re the fanciest or most extravagant but because they speak so fluently of a time and place. Sydney’s lively but laid-back Longrain, which served its final betel-leaf-wrapped confit salmon in 2019, is one of them. Most Sydneysiders and many visitors to the city have a Longrain memory: breezy lunches inside the converted warehouse in Surry Hills as the sun streaked in through the vintage windows or sexy cocktails and snacks at the bar at night, the latter often so spicy that you needed to order more of the former.
Now Longrain’s founding executive chef, Martin Boetz, is bringing his power-packed Thai-style cooking to his hometown of Brisbane, with the opening of Shortgrain, a roughly 60-seat eatery and providore in Fortitude Valley. Fans of the original should be pleased with the synergies between the new digs and the old, from the heritage building to the food. “A few classics are coming back, like my signature curries and salads,” says Boetz, along with slam-dunk future classics such as pork fat pastry tarts with duck egg caramel custard and turmeric wafers filled with caramelised pork, prawns, lemongrass and lime leaves (which will spark memories for anyone who ever tried Boetz’s beloved eggnet dish).
On the drinks front there’s a short cocktail list, international wines and a house gewürztraminer and shiraz from Victorian winemaker Delatite. Plus, there’s a shop that sits inside Shortgrain’s entrance – if you don’t feel like pulling up a chair, you can buy pre-made curries, condiments such as Fermentary pickles and Rōnin kelp soy sauce and even fresh produce to recreate a little bit of the Boetz magic at home.
Sydney’s loss is Brisbane’s gain.
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Image credit: David Chatfield