By Kristi Alexandra
Fast-paced, crowded, aromatic. Since its re-opening in January, New Westminster’s Longtail Kitchen recalls the jam-packed streets of Bangkok.
The Thai-centric restaurant set upon the Fraser River, recently merged with its neighbour, Freebird Chicken Shack–a Hainanese style eatery serving up Asian-inspired rotisserie chicken, bahn mis and more.
Both restaurants, situated in close proximity to each other at the River Market, were run by Chef Angus An, known best for his flagship restaurant, Maenam, in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. Now as one restaurant, An has shaken up the menu to be a more street food style.
Longtail Kitchen’s update does away with the restaurant’s steaming bowls of curried seafood, such as the geng gati southern turmeric curry of mussels and the dom ka hot & sour coconut soup of clams, but it does keep the sweet chili fish balls, among other street-style bites.
The brand’s refresh also opts for a simple way to keep the street food spirit alive, by offering up compostable, take-out dishes and chopsticks so diners can take their food for a walk along the river, stay in and eat cafeteria-style, or set up in the River Market’s adjacent food court setting.
New menu items include the roti with peanut sauce ($6) and the Singapore fried noodle ($13), while classics like the pad thai ($12) are here to stay. Longtail also adopted Freebird’s reputed rotisserie specials on the weekends, starting at $12 for a quarter chicken. You’ll want to run, not walk, to snag the special in time as take-out or eat-in rotisserie dishes sell out in a heartbeat.
Rotating features abound, bringing back laksa, “boat” noodles, and specials like holy basil stir fry with a fried egg or century egg ($14).
You can wash it all down with a Steel & Oak draft, or choose from the drinks in the cooler, which range from Thai iced teas to local bottles of Dickie’s Ginger, a Vancouver-based small batch ginger beer.
Whether staying in or taking out, Thai-fusion aficionados and street food lovers alike can now be certain that Longtail Kitchen is here to stay.