Australia’s 18 year old Longrain might have Tokyo drifted, but its signature dishes are still holding strong. Bite-sized mouth watering betel leaves, the famous eggnet, sticky caramelised pork hock and aromatic curries won’t be falling off the menu any time soon. According to Executive Chef Girff Pamment the Tokyo outpost in Ebisu, Longrain will serve same delicate blend of Thai and South East Asian influences, just taking inspiration from the local, seasonal produce in Japan.
“You get access to everything in Tokyo. The best fish and seafood, plus produce coming from all over the world. But some Thai ingredients are very hard to find. There is a mindblow-ingly great selection of noodles here, but when I go out looking for a flat rice noodle - everyone glares at me like I’m alien,” Griff laughs.
Besides long hours of noodle hunting and tasting, Longrain’s menu was quite easy to transpose for a Chef like Griff. He previously worked at Rockpool, Longrain, Kylie Kwong and Sean’s Panorama, before helping Bill Grainer to open his restaurants in both Tokyo and London.
“If I have learnt anything opening places overseas it’s that you don’t try to replicate, you try to recreate,” Griff says. “At Longrain Tokyo we have created a Japanese style lunch time set menu made up entirely of noodles, curry and rice dishes. We are doing a khao soy chicken, a Chiang Mai style chicken noodle; we have some grilled chicken satay, crab fried rice and a green curry of prawns,” he says.
“Our rice and noodle sets come out with a spicy green papaya salad and your choice of classic pad thai, ba mee pork noodle and the Chiang Mai noodle,” he says.
“We have made adaptations on some recipes and it’s quite good because I am working alongside my Chef de Partie, Hide Ohata, who is traditional ramen chef. He is a noodle expert and he’s actually helped me source eggs noodles that are a bit toothier, with some more bite to them, which is what the locals like,” Griff says.
One dish Griff has developed is dry noodles, with a slow cooked sliced pork which is served with toppings like crunchy wontons, pickles, bean sprouts, soft boiled egg, lots of herbs and chilli vinegar to give it a lift and a kick.
“In Tokyo people eat, like the Thai people eat. They are more inclined to eat a single bowl of noodles at lunch and then eat a more banquet style, shared dinner at night,” Griff says.
But the one hot question everyone asks, is whether Longrain Tokyo will be toning down the “chilli factor” for locals?
“No we are not. We are hitting the same level as we do in Sydney and people are responding really well. I was told I had my work cut out for me here- because the Japanese customer won’t like coriander, spicy food or too much chilli, but I’ve discovered there are plenty of people in Tokyo that love spicy food and love coriander. They also love the abundance of herbs in our food and they how light and healthy the Longrain food feels.”
“I’ve found wherever you go you need to have fresh eyes with everything you ever do. It often feels like re-inventing the wheel, but in the process sometimes you can create something really magic!”
Images by Nikki To
Longrain Tokyo opened on 26 August 2017
Level 39, Yebisu Garden Place, Ebisu
Address: 〒150-0013 東京都渋谷区 恵比寿4丁目20-3
INTERIOR BYluchetti krelle