MELBOURNE | Longsong, the bar above Longrain downstairs, reopened earlier this year, updated in line with the updates downstairs for the Scott Pickett era. I was invited in to check out the revamped space, and sample the new offerings.
The airy, spacious venue is still very impressive. The former early 20th century horse stables makes the most of the building’s bones, with exposed brick walls, high ceilings and windows, and wood panelling. It’s not as open as it was before. The large two sided bar in the middle, along with curtains, acts as a divider, with a bar section on one side, the private dining areas on the other side.
The menu takes it cues from the restaurant – Thai flavours but in a more snack like format. Having said that, you can easily grab a few things and make a proper dinner of it. Order the lotus root chips with kaffir lime and chilli salt; the beef tartare with spiced raw beef, black vinegar, chilli oil, spring onion, crispy wontons skins; and the chargrilled octopus skewers with betel leaf harissa. Skip the fried dishes. The prawn toast, and the fried calamari are both very oil-heavy.
As a bar, drinks are the big focus at Longsong, and it’s on this menu where things shine. Signature cocktails draw from the same inspiration as the food to good effect. Try the ‘Bloody Sunday’ (unfortunate name I know), with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon, rhubarb bitters, and blood orange soda. There’s also classic cocktails, local packaged and tap craft beer, and a great selection of wine and spirits.
Longsong is a good option for post-work, or kick-off drinks in the CBD. While the food is hit and miss, the drinks are top notch, with an atmosphere that’s casual yet sophisticated. There’s live DJs most nights, and a great happy hour as you head into the weekend.
Upstairs, 44 Little Bourke Street
Wed – Sat: 5:00pm to 12:00am