Tactical retreat

Shortgrain - Lunchmag

Longrain remains one of Sydney’s awesomest restaurants. It’s a rare institution in that it has defied the city’s notoriously fickle dining scene to stay cool and relevant for over a decade. Chef Martin Boetz’s chili, lime and fresh coconut milk poached fish changed the way I thought about blue-eye cod forever.

For years my friends and I have averted our eyes from the tables full of amateur lunchers wasting their expense accounts and enjoyed some of Sydney’s best fusion tucker served Asian banquet style by helpful, friendly staff including the lovely, vivacious and gorgeous maître’d Emmy.

And now Longrain has changed, with more room for fine dining upstairs, a cocktail bar, canteen-style eatery called Shortgrain, and an Asian grocer in the basement of the hip 110-year-old converted warehouse.

The canteen-style eatery, is of course a move away from long lunches which are a signature of modern civilization.

This is a savage indictment of the times we live in and is something Lunch Magazine is campaigning against.

But co-owner Sam Christian told Lunch Magazine the move is necessary because his customers have “become a bit more time poor’’.

“They can grab a quick lunch at Shortgrain or take it back to their desks’’. Oh dear.

“I think people are working a lot harder than they were three or four years ago.’’

Meanwhile, he is still catering for the long lunchers on Friday afternoons and for everyone else five days a week at Shortgrain.

Oh and I almost forgot to add, they still offer fine dining in the main upstairs restaurant seven nights a week.

The refurbished digs mean the Sydney eatery will be making curries and sauces for both the Sydney and Melbourne iterations of Longrain.

With the extensions have come stylish round tables and booths for six to 10 people.

Longrain Sydney’s main entrance flows into two dining spaces, to the right, the room is divided by three enormous wooden communal dining tables.

“These are deliberately designed to encourage traditional ‘Asian-style’ banquet dining. And to the left, a new space has been added to the mix which is located in what was the original cocktail bar. The new dining area is an elegant room with pod-like booths and individual round tables that can be booked for groups of six to nine people – a Longrain Sydney first.’’

German-born executive chef Martin Boetz’s menu is a mouth-watering blend of Thai and Chinese influences with dishes that are designed to be shared.

A wine list is carefully created by fellow co-owner and award-winning sommelier Christie to perfectly balance the menu’s combination of hot, sour, salty and sweet flavours.

Positioned within the heart of the artistic design quarter of inner-city Surry Hills, Longrain is only minutes from Sydney’s CBD and eastern suburbs.

While the refurbishment upstairs does herald a tactical retreat for long lunchers perhaps, Shortgrain’s weekday hours provide proof that we are still in the game.

Jonathan Porter

Longrain Sydney

85 Commonwealth Street

Surry Hills

NSW Australia 2010

P | 02 9280 2888

F | 02 9280 2887

e | [email protected]

Subway: Central

Lunch | Friday 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner | Monday to Friday 6pm to 11pm
Saturday 5.30 to 11pm
Sundays 5.30 to 10pm
Bookings | Friday Lunch and for
groups of 6 or more for dinner
Cocktail Bar
Monday to Sunday 4pm to midnight
Shortgrain Canteen & Shop
Lunch | Monday to Friday 11am to 3pm
Shop | Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm


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