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You know you’re in for a tasty treat when your food-enthusiast friends keep raving on about a particular restaurant like a broken record. With that in mind, Jma and I decided to try Red Spice Road for our recent eating adventure.
Their interior is trendy, modern and captivating. Red Spice Road’s menu embraces the shared dining experience that is taking Melbourne by storm and the large communal tables seemed fitting, reiterating the whole concept of sharing.
Our drinks. Driver’s Apple and Mint Mule on the left, and Green Asian on the right.
Driver’s Apple and Mint Mule - fresh lime, mint and ginger, shaken with apple juice and then charged with ginger beer.
Green Asian - Freshly muddled kiwi fruit, shaken with apple juice and a hint of coconut.
Some oohs and ahhs ensued when our drinks were set down on the table. The coconut flavour in the Green Asian was much stronger than described and seemed to take center stage amongst a backdrop of sourness provided by the apple and kiwi. The crushed kiwi made some sips more sour/fruity than others.
Oyster with cucumber, crispy shallot, baby shiso & green nam jim.
The oysters were fresh and well sized; the flavours were sensational. The toppings, with the cucumber standing out in particularly, exuded much of a combined Vietnamese and Thai flavour. The oysters also packed quite a spicy kick, which became obvious from the lingering tingling.
Burmese split pea fritters, served with a spicy tamarind sauce.
The fritters were perhaps a little too dry and firm. The spicy sauce supplied an Asian touch and was applied generously to the fritters in order to help tackle the dryness.
Betel leaf with smoked chicken, prawn, chilli, coriander & lemongrass.
There was a lot happening in this dish and even the tiniest of bites gave way to a flurry of textures and flavours. The onset of smoky flavour soon faded to tendrils of crab flavour combined with fresh bursts of coriander and lemongrass.
Pork belly with chilli, apple slaw & black vinegar.
The sizes of their mains were surprisingly and exceedingly generous. Between the two of us, we each had to eat more than our fair share of pork belly. The pork was very well cooked and tender; the rind exhibited a soggy sort of crispiness. Coated in a thick sweet sauce in which it sat, the saltiness of the pork paired perfectly with the rich and sweet flavour. The dish was topped off with an apple-themed salad, which tasted quite similar to a papaya salad, and helped break up the strong flavours from the pork.
DO NOT DOUSE YOUR RICE IN THE SAUCE. I made that mistake and had to bombard my plate with a heavy dose of rice to soak up the excess.
Lychee jam donuts, with cinnamon ice-cream.
Three entrees and one main is PLENTY between two people and we should have skipped the dessert. BUT after spying the words ‘lychee donut’ on the menu, we had to do it. 30 minutes of digestion had passed and we felt ready to tackle dessert. The lychee seemed somewhat subdued and the donut was quite dense. The creamy and smooth cinnamon ice-cream’s flavour was spot on.
I can now say with absolute certainty that the widespread and raving reviews about Red Spice Road are indeed true. They offer wonderful flavours and generous portions that won’t leave too much of a dent in your wallet. As the name playfully hints, spiciness does feature in most of their dishes, but wasn’t an issue because the waiting staff ensured that our water glasses were never empty (impeccable service). With so many pros, is there any reason to not go?
Red Spice Road
27 McKillop St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9603 1601