Red Spice Road is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in Melbourne. This is classy South East Asian dining with chart topping dishes at a reasonable price. The Pork belly signature dish was one of the greatest dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life. We are excited to see the latest offering by John McLeay the Head Chef in his new book release, Bits on Sticks.
Come here for a sense of occasion and an air of sophistication without being stuffy. The décor is modern and classy with large David Bromley paintings and red hues and themes including a massive red lantern (largest in the southern hemisphere). Cudos to the team and head chef John McLeay.
The banquet option is a winner (I love shared meals) and a group of 4 of us considered the fare and experience to be memorable. Come for the earlybird session and be out by 7.15pm – for us it is no problem. We sat at a table for 4 with plenty of space and excellent ambience. I believe it to be in The Lantern Room which features a huge communal table that seats up to 60 people (plenty of scope to bring a few extra friends).
The $25 banquet comes with an excellent standard appetiser of betel leaf and smoked chicken along with lemongrass, kaffir lime and coriander – a tasty starter perfect for the cacophony of flavour to come.
The banquet demands that you choose 3 meals from a possible 5 available. In reality it’s 2 choices as the Pork belly picks itself. Being a lover of pork belly, it’s usually the first thing I pick on the menu. So I feel qualified to critique pork belly. Just a slab of pork belly will do wonders but when it is partnered with an imaginative accompaniment it rises to another level.
Red Spice Road delivers a pork belly that ticks all the boxes. The flavour profile is perfect and bordering on genius with pork belly, apple slaw, chilli caramel and black vinegar. The black vinegar comes in a small jug and when poured over the dish hits the high notes. (Apart from the pork belly we ordered the fried chicken with black pepper and the Lamb massaman curry with pineapple and potato and steamed rice.)
The Pork belly is definitely the star of the show. I’m told it takes many hours to prepare and is cooked something like 3 times. The sweetness and the crunch of the large portions of pork belly were sublime and the combination with the slaw and black vinegar was amazing. We were all keen to go back for seconds – fortunately we were close friends and were able to share this dish without tension and dramas. OMG!
The other dishes were also excellent with plenty of spice and flavour. The fried chicken with black pepper was delightful without being too overpowering. The addition of basil and cashews was a great accompaniment.
The Lamb massaman curry was another highlight with superb sauce with a bit of kick and tender meat. The dish was full of spice (as massaman should be) and nicely aromatic. The potato soaks up the flavours wonderfully and the pineapple is a welcome sweetness in the sea of spice.
Portions are generous and service is friendly. They even told us how they prepare the pork belly dish – but somehow I think trying to recreate it at home might not be so simple. Staff kept filling our water and checking for anything we might want. For an extra $5 we might have indulged in dessert.
The décor of Red Spice Road is superb with a large red lantern, large attractive David Bromley art, and creative flower arrangements. The restaurant is large and also contains a courtyard area with loads of class. A packed restaurant with various creative dining concepts and areas presents a great ambience.
Red Spice Road is an exceptional dining experience and I look forward to continuing the journey.
Red Spice Road, 27 McKillop St CBD – South East Asian - Food 9 Ambience 9