manila: lunch at longrain.

longrain samosa

i went to powerplant mall in rockwell center because i am in love with a bookstore in there, but i don't really know what else is in there except a rock climbing wall in the carpark, a room for drivers to watch dvds whilst waiting for their drivees (such an awesome idea, btw), and um, that's about it. however, i probably spend at least three hours in the bookshop each time i go in, and by the time i'm done, i'm famished.

longrain kitchen

we went to longrain, which is in the "food court" section of the mall, but since powerplant is a bit more upscale, the idea that this is fast food is not what you'd expect; the restaurants all have their dedicated spaces, but their respective seating spills out onto a common court. the food is mostly asian, and usually a cut above your mickey d's.

longrain doesn't specialize in any one cuisine, but dabbles in various southeast asian regions, including malaysia, indonesia, the philippines, and india. the decor is funky and relaxed, and the menu is just long enough to keep you interested enough to want to try several things, but not long enough to completely perplex you. to tell you the truth, i really like this place, as do several of my female cousins, but i don't think anyone else does. however, i could be wrong, as it has been here for quite awhile now. but then again, it's one of the only restaurants around that hasn't opened up a second branch in the many malls mushrooming throughout manila. hm. whatever. i'll let you know what i ate.

longrain paratha

we started the meal with vegetable samosas (pictured at the beginning of the post), a fried vegetable-filled pastry. and it was both heat hot and spicy hot. the fried shell had just a thin layer of crispness, which gave way to a nicely tender pastry, and the garam masala-spiced potatoes, onions and peas packed in a lot of flavour, and weren't mushy or watery. we also ordered a paratha, a grilled flatbread served with a mild curry sauce.

longrain chicken makhani

i thought i would have the laksa, a curry-based noodle dish. the idea of yellow egg noodles with coconut milk, prawns, shallots, galangal, lemongrass, sambal belacan and other spices made my mouth water so much and my brain go into overdrive that when the server asked me what wanted, i blurted out "chicken makhani". wtf??? butter chicken?! i guess i short-circuited and ordered the "delhi dinner" on the menu, which consisted of chicken cooked in clarified butter, tomatoes and spices, saffron rice, yellow lentil dhal, cucumber raita and a poppadum. everything was very good--again, nicely cooked, no stinting of spices--but it was no laksa.

longrain mee goreng

luckily (for me anyway), my cousin ordered mee goreng, yellow egg noodles fried with potatoes, tomatoes, tofu, and prawns in a tasty tomatoey garlicky chili sauce. talk about being pounded over the head with flavour, this dish practically leapt into my mouth, it was so good. spicy, but not so much that it overpowered the dish, perfectly al dente noodles, barely cooked through prawns, tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes, not at all oily.

longrain sign

so why don't people like this place? i've only ever ordered indian, indonesian, and malaysian food from here, but from what i've seen of the filipino dishes, i think i could find them lacking. the servers aren't particularly friendly nor helpful, but they are polite, efficient, and the food tends to arrive when it should. i have limited experience with malaysian and indonesian cuisine, but i do like that the kitchen doesn't hold back on spicing dishes, but obviously doesn't rely on salt (or msg, according to the sign), nor have any of the dishes seemed greasy or oily. one cousin had the complaint that perhaps the food had too much flavour and he had a little trouble with so much going on in his meal. huh. well, more for me then.

basement, powerplant mall
rockwell center, makati


I do like Long Grain...but I also know people that don't, to each his own I guess :) I haven't tried everything they have (and none of the Filipino dishes), but I have tried the Mee Goreng and I agree with your description 100% :)

BTW, I used to work at that book shop :)

Laksa would have been good..Santos..! ya.. what were you thinking..?? hahahha!!!

Hi Santos,

Lucky you have somewhere like this to eat at. What I wouldn't give for some mee goreng right now. *sigh*

hi joey--funny about the bookshop! i sort of prefer the old location in the mall, but at least i got to discover more shops on my way up to the third floor. it's funny to me how everything in the philippines seems relatively inexpensive, except for books. books are still pricy there. i'm glad you like the restaurant, too!

hi big bok! i plead temporary insanity :)

hi reid! well, it's still about 1300 miles away from me here on guam, but ultimately closer than you from malaysia ;)

Fully Booked! I could spend hours there too. :)

Long Grain serves good food. I like their Manila Platter (not sure if that's the name) -- Adobo with a side dish of Monggo. Sarap! Their Roti is also good. But I am a big Chicken Makhani fan... I wonder why I've never tried that there? Ha! Thanks for letting me know that. I will go there soon to try that Indian dish (my favorite nonetheless) out!

hi toni! the chicken makhani wasn't as good this time around as it has been in the past, but it was still good. i'm not sure where the difference is, maybe it was that the chicken was a little dry. i really like the mongo here, too.