We caught up with Martin Boetz the owner of Longrain restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne. He is a great friend of ours and an amazing cook. Here is what he had to say.
GRUB: GRUB has gotten to know You over the last few years and your wit and charm has kept us lured in not to mention your ability with Thai cooking (You do it so well! ) For those who don’t know you very well, would you mind telling us a little about yourself and what led you to Thai cuisine?
MB: My passion for cooking began at an early age in Queensland with an apprenticeship at Lennons’ Brisbane Hotel. I completed my training at Faces, a restaurant then owned by Vincent Rae - now of Byron Bay’s, Rae’s on Wategos.
Moving to Sydney in 1990, I furthered my career at several well known Sydney restaurants. I worked with David Novak-Piper at Zigolini’s in Double Bay and it was here I first met Sam Christie, who would later become my Longrain business partner. This was followed by a brief stint at The Russell Hotel before moving on to work with my mentor, David Thompson, at Darley Street Thai. It was during this period that I first developed a passion and palate for Asian food cooked with the freshest, local produce and ingredients.
I later went on to run Sailors Thai - another of Thompson’s celebrated Thai restaurant ventures. It was here that I garnered a reputation as one of Australia’s leading talents of contemporary Thai-style Asian cooking.
In 1999, I joined forces with Sam Christie to launch Longrain Restaurant & Bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills and together We opened Longrain Melbourne in 2005 to more rave reviews.
In 2003, I was honored when David Thompson visited from London to officially launch my first cookbook: "Longrain Modern Thai Food".
GRUB: Recently you opened a canteen style version of Longrain, of which is appropriately named Shortgrain.) What is the most popular dish that you serve at Shortgrain? Is it a full menu there?
MB: The most popular dish at Shortgrain at the moment is "Yellow curry of Cape Grim beef with pickled mustard greens and roti"
The Shortgrain menu has 6 dishes that change daily that are designed to be shared or as a quick stop to refuel and get nourished.
GRUB: I could not imagine a week without a stop in at Shortgrain. What are the hours you are open for lunch?
MB: We are open from 11.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. Shortgrain is also available for private functions in the evening.
GRUB: There is no doubt about the fact that you are brilliant in the kitchen, Is there another style of cooking, or ethnic flavor that inspires you?
MB: Italian. Before Longrain opened I spent a year working in Italy and I still love cooking the food that I learnt while living there.
GRUB: Being a Butchery we would love to hear what your favorite cut is and why?
MB: For a great Thai beef salad, I can’t go past a grass fed piece of beef sirloin letting or the fat melt into the grill to give a smoky caramelised flavour to the salad.
GRUB: How would you prepare it?
MB: Grill the sirloin over an open fire is fantastic as the fat drips into the charcoal and this also gives the meat a slightly smoky flavour.
GRUB: Marty, with winter well on its way we are always keen to find out new ideas and recipes that will keep us warm and singing over the cold winter months, do you have a recipe you could share with us that will do just that?
MB: Mussaman curry of lamb shanks
GRUB: 2012 is in full swing, How has your year been so far? Working on any new projects? Or any classes or courses we should know about?
MB: I have just bought a farm in Sackville, Hawkesbury and am planning on growing some of our own produce for Longrain on my property.
Thank you so much Marty for chatting with us here @ GRUB, we hope that you enjoy the rest of what 2012 will bring, we definitely look forward to enjoying what you have to offer us, in the way of tantalizing delights! Keep in Touch.
Longrain Sydney and Melbourne 85 Commonwealth st., Surry Hills 2010. (02) 9280 2888