From Saturday 18 August to Sunday 16 September 2012, Lionel's Melbourne becomes an gastronomic adventure. The City of Melbourne presents a delicious event to showcase the abundant culinary creativity that calls the city home and tantalise the public's epicurean palate in celebration of Victoria's proud food history and the State Library of Victoria's Gusto! Exhibition.
One of my favourite Look.Stop.Taste restaurants is Longrain. An established Melbourne restaurant initiated by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legend John Van Haandel, Longrain serves exceptional modern Thai and Southern Chinese influenced food created by Executive Chef Martin Boetz, accompanied by wines from award-winning sommelier Sam Christie that balances the combination of hot, sour, salty and sweet flavours. Natasha Firman and I caught up to chat about the restaurant and food.
Located in heritage-listed former horse stables tucked away on the corner of Little Bourke Street and Punch Lane, Longrain provides a relaxed, comfortable and informal culinary experience within an open dining hall-like environment. In true Asian banquet style fashion, the restaurant is dotted with long and round communal tables and meal portions are designed to be shared with family and friends. The restaurant's main entrance flows naturally into the Cocktail Bar, made from solid American oak and topped by exquisite white-marbled Calcutta stone, which cleanly divides the grotto-like lounge area from the dining section.
One of my favourite and recommended Look.Stop.Taste dishes is Executive Chef Martin Boetz's hot and sour salad of prawn with Vietnamese mint on rice. Who would associate a German guy with Asian food but the flavours of his dish are true to authentic Thai cuisine. I enjoyed the refreshing cocktail of hot, sour, sweet and salty from the sauce, herbs and prawns on my palate, reminisce of my gourmet trips in Bangkok. While I found the tang and heat to my liking, readers can consider requesting for a reduction of the chilli. I was pleased to learn that Chef Martin could accommodate vegan friends by offering a tofu version in place of the prawns. Of course I had to try the vegan version too, which did not lack in flavour. Priced at AUD20, each tasting at the Cocktail Bar is accompanied by a choice of '12 Rose Ritchie Gewurztraminer or 2011 Airline Bank Pinot Noir.