Red Spice Road – Melbourne
So, my final day at work is drawing ever closer and a quick work trip to Melbourne saw me treated to a wonderful farewell dinner with some of my work colleagues at Red Spice Road located smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD. I always like to do my research in regards to places I’ve never eaten at before so I Googled the restaurant, and to my delight, I found out that Red Spice Road specialised in South East Asian cuisine. I was even more excited to see some Vietnamese style dishes on the menu. The restaurant is down a narrow laneway, which is typical of Melbourne, and its size is very deceiving when you’re looking at the smallish front entrance. When you step inside, the space is large and spacious – definitely not what I was expecting. On to your left is a cool bar which leads out into a courtyard where you get sit back and have a few beverages. If you walk straight in after stepping through the front door, you walk through a long dining area that has two long communal tables. Further to the rear of the restaurant is the Lantern room, which is HUGE! This room has the biggest chinese lantern I have ever seen hanging in the middle of the ceiling! Once again, the seating arrangement is communal with two long curved tables forming a circle around the lantern. I was pretty impressed so far with the layout of the restaurant.
So, was the food as impressive as the decor? YES!!!! We were tossing up between ordering the banquet or just picking some dishes from the a la carte menu. After much deliberation, we decided to opt for the a la carte menu, and this is what we had….For entree, we had Betel Leaf with Chicken, Crab, Coconut, Chilli and Kaffir Lime and the Twice Cooked Lamb Ribs with a Tamarind and Coconut Relish. Very pretty dishes, and as you can see, the team couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
For our mains, the team chose five dishes to share with steamed rice….
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Green Mango Salad and Nam Jim – OH. MY. GOD. Whenever you see a menu that says a meat is slow roasted, you expect the meat to be super ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ tender, and this dish did not disappoint. It was absolutely huge, being the shoulder portion of the lamb, but as soon as you touched the meat with your fork it just immediately gave way. It was so flavoursome too!
Barramundi Vietnamese Curry with Potato and Roasted Carrot – I love Barramundi and this dish was an interesting take on a dish that my Mum would make using beef. I never would have thought to use fish, and it was delicious!
Beef Cheeks with Mushrooms, Crunchy Bean Shoot Salad and Spicy Broth – This was another of those OH. MY. GOD. dishes. This was also slow roasted like the lamb shoulder and the beef cheeks were just as ‘melty’. The spicy broth was a really good accompaniment for the rice as it moistened it whilst you ate, so you didn’t end up swallowing too much dry rice and giving yourself the hiccups.
Pork Belly with Apple Slaw, Chilli Caramel and Black Vinegar – This was probably my least favourite dish of the night. The flavours worked well and the slaw was tangy and fresh, but the pork belly itself didn’t quite have the right balance of meat, fat and skin. This kind of threw me off and I only ended up eating one piece.
Duck Red Curry with Pineapple and Sweet Potato – this was the one and only dish I did not get a chance to try. How on Earth did that happen?
Apart from the pork belly, the only other thing that I would pick on is the level of spiciness in those dishes with chilli and the spicy broth. I didn’t think there was enough spicy heat, but that is just my palate.
For dessert, I agreed to share with one of the girls in my team. After all the food we had eaten so far, there was no way I was going to have an entire dessert to myself, but there was no way I wanted to miss out all together either. We decided that we would share the Choc, Chilli, Mint Parfait with Salted Peanut Caramel, Rice Puffs and Pineapple Sorbet. It was AH-MAY-ZING! The flavours of the parfait and caramel worked extremely well, and you would get a hint of chilli right at the end of each mouthful. The rice puffs added an interesting crunchy texture and the pineapple sorbet was really good to cleanse the palate after a couple of mouthfuls of parfait.
Would I go back? Definitely yes! I loved the communal dining layout of the restaurant, and the flavours of all the dishes we had were really good. I enjoyed the dinner so much, that I bought The Red Spice Road cookbook so I can replicate some of the dishes from the night. It was nice to catch up with everyone in my team before I leave the company to go back to Uni, especially considering we are all based in three different states. Thanks for an awesome night everyone….I’m definitely going to miss my crew.
Red Spice Road
27 McKillop Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9603 1601