Review: Long Chim (Sydney, NSW)

Corner Pitt Street and Angel Place
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9223 7999

Happy New Year, folks!

I’m not one to make new years resolutions (yes, I say this every December 31st) but I’ll go ahead and make several today:

1) I’ll blog more regularly – yes, I keep saying that but this time I want to make sure of it
2) I’ll exercise more (a strange thing to say for a food blogger but after living in Germany for almost a year, I’ve developed some unhealthy eating habits and a tyre around my stomach to prove it)
3) I’ll try my best to avoid crappy restaurants

Crappy restaurants such as Long Chim in Sydney.

A few years ago, I travelled to Singapore quite a bit. And quite often, I would eat at David Thompson’s Long Chim at Marina Bay Sands. Like most restaurants at MBS, Long Chim was never a cheap affair but the meals were usually pretty satisfying – and reasonably good value compared to most fine dining restaurants in Singapore.

When Long Chim opened up Sydney to much fanfare, I waited a bit until the hype died down before I decided to try it for myself. Although I knew the concept and menu was similar to that of Singapore’s, I did my best to avoid the inevitable comparison between Sydney and Singapore. And as much as I dislike MBS, I have to say that my experiences at Long Chim Singapore were much better than the one lunch I had at Long Chim Sydney.

Bean and I rocked up at midday for a quick and easy lunch. Our waitress was, at first, friendly and chatty and we did the requisite small talk about the weather as we ordered our food. Friendly and chatty did turn to borderline inappropriate, at least in my opinion. Every time she’d come back to bring our dishes or refill our water, she’d begin flirting with Bean and have her hands draped across his shoulders, lingering a tad too long (‘Is it just me or she is being a bit too flirty?’ asked Bean, amused); she’d also ignore me. I’m all for friendly banter and a casual touch on the shoulder or whatever, but I thought it was a bit too much – and, quite frankly, unprofessional. Um hello, do you not realise that Bean has a female companion sitting directly across him? So I’ll preface this blog by saying that this may have clouded my judgement of the food.

We shared some wagyu beef skewers to start with. Being Indonesian, the thought of paying $10 for two measly skewers is offensive even in Australia. That said, we enjoyed these beef skewers many times in Singapore so we wanted to see how they fared in Sydney. We were greeted by the now-familiar smell of cumin, turmeric and coriander combined with the intoxicating aroma of charcoal – yes, okay fine, they were divine.

Beef satays (two for $10)

We then ordered two mains to share between us. Again as an Indonesian, the concept of paying more than $30 for a laksa and plate of fried rice would cause my ancestors to stir in their graves but then again, this is Long Chim and this is Sydney CBD. So let’s roll with that. The fried rice was nice enough though maybe a bit small for its price point. I also expecting wok hei and perhaps a bit more crab, too. We were also given some chillies drowned in soy sauce in case we wanted a bit of heat.

Fried rice with spanner crab meat ($32)

While the fried rice was okay, I was a bit disappointed with the beef laksa. Topped with crushed peanuts, dried prawns, spring onions, basil, bean shoots and half an egg, the laksa looked great but it was too heavy and too one-dimensional for my liking. Where was the heat? Where was the exciting medley of flavours that often make a fantastic bowl of laksa? Why on earth was it so sweet? Why is that waitress hitting on Bean again, FFS?

Beef laksa ($32)

In the end, it wasn’t an inexpensive meal. $85 got us two mains and one satay skewer each as well as sparkling water for two. As if I wasn’t annoyed enough by the waitress, she thanked Bean yet I was the one who pulled out my card and paid for the lunch. Yeah, makes sense. Since our visit, we’ve had friends check it out – some liked it, while some vowed never to go again. I’m definitely in the latter category; for that price point, I expected a lot better but I won’t return. There are better Thai restaurants in Sydney.

I eat too much.

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