Ahoy fellow food lovers! This is my first time stepping into the world of food blogging and I have to admit, I am incredibly excited to be finally contributing since I have always been a foodie at heart. Through those countless journeys scavenging for fresh, modern dining experiences in the heart of Gastown to the very depths of Chinatown eating authentic Shanghainese cuisine, I am happy to be sharing my colorful food adventures, starting with a hidden gem located in New Westminister’s River Market, Longtail Kitchen.
Have you ever traveled overseas and stumbled upon a street food vendor or a restaurant that serves amazingly delicious food that sadly, falls short in comparability to the same ethnic food found back at home? It is surely without a doubt, that some of us have wished we could simply pack along these delicacies to savour in the comforts of our home. But unfortunately, reality cannot always be paradise. That is why I was utterly surprised and ecstatic to have discovered Longtail Kitchen, a small casual restaurant serving a traditional taste of Thai street food accompanied with a modern touch. After paying a fruitful visit to Longtail Kitchen with some friends, I can officially call this restaurant my Thai getaway.
Atmosphere: As I stepped into the restaurant, the words “FRESH, TRENDY, HIPSTER” ran across my mind. With its open stainless steel kitchen contrasted with light painted pastel walls and accented wooden furniture, the restaurant exuded a young and relaxing aura. Designed as a multifunctional kitchen, the place also contained a shelf of ingredients and spices to purchase as a mini shopping stop, as well as a open patio for those hot summer days.
Service: We were immediately greeted with smiles by the chef working behind the kitchen counter. Unlike many other restaurants that seat customers down with a menu, Longtail has its customers order their food from a menu written on old school black board hanging above the payment counter. I do not believe this diminished the quality of service as it merely made transactions faster.
Seating: After ordering, my friends and I were nicely assisted to our table of choice. Seating is not the best I have had. Although a great touch to the restaurant design, wooden chairs or benches have never been a popular hit with me. Nevertheless, I was excited for the food to arrive.
Presentation: A modern take on authentic Thai street food was the central focus to its presentation. Unlike traditional street food, served either on paper plates or Chinese paper boxes, Longtail presented their food on beautifully decorated porcelain plates and bowls.
Quality: The quality of food tasted as delicious as it looked! My friends and I ordered six dishes to share: chicken satays with peanut sauce, fried fish balls with sweet chili sauce, crispy oysters with nam jim sauce, geng gati southern tumeric curry of mussels, dom kat hot & sour coconut soup with clams and, of course, their famous chicken wings with tamarind sauce. As a beverage, we ordered their Thai iced tea which I can genuinely say, was the BEST iced tea I ever had!
The chicken satays were a bit dry even with a hint of peanut sauce and thus, were my least favourite dish of the bunch. The fish balls were on point; crispy to perfection and drizzled with an accompanying sauce that added a hint of sweet n sour taste. Truly a match made in heaven. The oysters were amazing as it had a crunchy texture on the outside and once bitten, a soft pillowy goodness felt on the palette. On the other hand, the curry mussels were generic. The curry would have been better if was more thick. Instead, it tasted more bland as a result. The mussels were good but not mind-blowing. I am a huge fan of clams, and this did not lose any points in my books. Mildly spicy with a bit of salt, the clams were juicy and I simply could not just have one! And finally, I realized why the chicken wings were called “famous”. This was by far, my favourite dish of all! Crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. All the rich, authentic spices of Thai could be tasted on a chicken wing. Just incredible!
I highly recommend Longtail Kitchen for anyone that is looking for amazingly good quality and traditional Thai food within an affordable price. Situated by the water, the place makes an authentic context to its fresh seafood.
The restaurant design is young and hip, giving off a trendy atmosphere. Its open patio also caters to its relaxing and social environment, making it a perfect place to escape from the mundane of everyday.
The restaurant is owned by chef Angus An, who also owns the award winning Maenam restaurant. This is a cheaper and more casual departure for Mr. An, but one that remains of the highest quality.
Getting to Longtail Kitchen is not a hassle for ones transiting as it only takes a 4 minute walk from New Westminister skytrain station.
The portions may be a bit small to many’s preference.
Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Food Presentation: 3.5/5
Food Quality: 4.5/5
Featured image by Nancy Wu at Nomss.com