Serendipity in Brisbane

A holiday in Australia, visiting son and niece, offers the chance to discover Longtime, an excellent Thai restaurant

25-01-2017

The bright Tyron Simon, a 38-year-old Australian restaurateur from Brisbane, owns a great place on the Gold Coast, opened a couple of years ago, and another one, Longtime, in the capital of Queensland, third Australian city in terms of inhabitants (2 million). In the photo with Bianca Marchi

I know fully well that there’s no such thing as science fiction, fantasy and impossible hyperboles, yet often everyday life, the life surrounding us is enough to surprise us. Chasing fantasies is pointless, no matter how charming. In this piece, for instance, there’s a lot of my personal life because there are many ways you can end up dining in an excellent Thai restaurant in Brisbane, Australia, but this one is almost incredible.

There’s my niece Bianca, who’ll turn 24 in the summer, and went to study in Brisbane and never returned because she found love and a career there. Then there’s my son Brando who came of age last September while spending one year of college on the Gold Coast, some 80 km south of Brisbane. And these days we, his parents, are here. We haven’t seen him since June and won’t see him again till August.

As usual in these cases, a suitcase is full of presents alone for your beloved ones. Hence my son, the family hosting him, a friend, my niece and, why not, her boyfriend. «Uncle, his name is Tyron, but we all call him Tai. He’s got a restaurant, why don’t you come?». I took note of the dinner at Longtime in my diary with no expectation. Except I then looked up the place in the web so as two write down its address and not get lost in a city with 2 million inhabitants, and found out it’s a pretty good place, created from scratch and opened on the 31st October 2014 by a guy from Melbourne who’ll turn 38 this year.

Tyron Simon (name and surname respectively) used to work in the music business and had voice in a pub. The wish to open a place of his own came because he often went to Thailand and on his way back to Australia he could never find a place that really thrilled him. So he decided to open one himself, with a partner, Frank Li, and two valuable chefs, Ben Bertei and Nathan Lastavec. «I was looking for a place that had never hosted a restaurant so that nobody would make comparisons.

I found it in a cement place where people used to play. I bulldozed everything. The kitchen is open view. There’s a casual atmosphere. When you sit, you don’t see anything that’s happening outside. This was our intention: those who visit us in the evening must leave all their problems behind and only enjoy the food and have a great time».

Tyron is a very nice guy who knows what he wants. He’s true and determined: «I’d like to meet Joe Bastianich some day and thank him for writing Restaurant Man. If you don’t understand the first three pages, it’s best you give up on the restaurant industry. Those pages have all you need. The rest you learn by doing. For instance, I started working at the welcome station when I caught the receptionist carelessly telling two guests “you’ll have to wait two hours and a half”. He lost those two. I’m also thinking of closing on Sundays and opening on Mondays, for two reasons: on Mondays, many places are closed. Plus on Sundays people order little wine because they’re all thinking of work the next day and they want to be clear headed.

Longtime is at 610 Ann Street in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Its entrance is hidden, you must look for it carefully. It was all intended by owner Tyron Simon

Longtime is at 610 Ann Street in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Its entrance is hidden, you must look for it carefully. It was all intended by owner Tyron Simon

On Monday night, instead, the week has already began and everyone feels more free, they think of having fun, not just of their commitments».

Between August and September, Tai will open a Japanese restaurant called Honto, while on the Gold Coast, in Burleigh Heads, he opened a second restaurant in 2016, called Rick Shores. It is specialised in Asian cuisine. At Longtime I have a great memory of the kingfish sashimi, from the Pacific ocean, of a mini burger made with fried chicken, of a thrilling coconut curry with lobster, just like the beef spare ribs cooked for two or three days – perhaps they’re not very Thai, but they’re excellent.

We were later joined for a glass of wine by two friends of the owner, and the unexpected coincidences became endless, between Los Angeles and Mexico, Los Angeles and Modena. Yet telling you about these wouldn’t add a thing to this article.


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