Celebrity chef David Thompson dishes up surprisingly down-to-earth Bangkok street food at his first foray into casual dining
Admittedly, there are certain expectations that came with Long Chim even before we had a taste of its contemporary Thai plates. The new celebrity restaurant is, after all, the brainchild of internationally acclaimed chef and cookbook author David Thompson, whose fine-dining spot Nahm in Bangkok topped Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants last year. Also, the incredibly stylish spot, taking over the former Guy Savoy, is nestled amongst the swankiest restaurants at Marina Bay Sands.
So naturally, we had envisioned fancy Thai street food with lavish prices to match. But we were so delightfully wrong. The modest menu (for now) shows no signs of caviar, lobsters, or extravagant spices. Nothing here costs more than $25 (except the deep-fried whole fish with three-flavoured sauce at market price). And about the closest thing you’ll find to a glamorous dish is the fiery and toothsome sour orange curry of Snakehead fish with water mimosa ($22).
For starters, we had a mouthwatering bounty of light bites that included the heavily spiced and tender beef skewer with cumin, coriander and turmeric, some fragrant and crunchy prawn cakes, as well as Thompson’s expert make of the spicy-hot Miang Kham, or the dried prawns with ginger toasted coconut wrapped in betel leaf on the menu, which explodes with a variety of tastes. Equally pleasurable are the grilled lamb curry, green papaya salad, and the hot and sour soup of chicken wings and feet (or also known as tom yum soup) – all of which will please even the most hypersensitive of Thai-food-snobs. To finish, we strongly recommend ordering the durian ice cream if you’re a fan of the fruit – it’s almost certainly the best we’ve had in Singapore.
Sure, there are other authentic Thai restaurants in the city that offer better value (read: cheaper Thai dishes), but not only are Thompson’s great works decidedly worth every cent, the sprawling, beautiful restaurant commands as much attention as the terrific food on the table with its cinematic, Art Deco look and theatrical open-concept kitchens. That is to say, Long Chim is pretty much the perfect place for a decent business lunch, serious post-work drinks (cocktails here are nicely crafted) or a date night that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. In other words, it has firmly secured a spot in our list of favourite restaurants in Singapore.
Take a look at some of the other dishes on the menu at Long Chim:
Long Chim, #L2-02 Atrium 2, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, p. 6688 7299. Open daily 5pm-11pm.