Modern Asian food in a sprawling space with bar, courtyard and tables next to a huge red lantern, Red Spice Road received a lot of accolades from Melbournites and other gourmands that throttled through the beautiful back lanes.
We started with an a la carte item that did not come with the Tasting Menu that we ordered for our party of 12.
Steamed bao, roasted pork, hoisin, pickle, mustard – a play on the Chinese Kung Bak Pao 梅菜扣肉包, the Red Spice version used a piece of deep fried pork with hoisin sauce and pickles instead of preserved mustard green. This has been their signature dish. It was more like a Chinese hamburger than the Kung Bak Pao.
Showcase Tasting Menu
Beef, peanut, roasted chilli sambal, coriander, betel leaf – minced beef stir-fried with sambal and chopped coriander, you take a spoonful and wrapped it with betel leaf and eat it rolled up. The sting of the betel leaf was much milder than betel itself but it added a dimension to a very traditional Thai Larb dish.
Penang fried chicken, green chilli, ginger, mint – this was a play on the Paper-wrapped Chicken that we can get quite commonly in Malaysia. Instead of Vietnamese Mint (or Laksa Leave), they used the more common mint as the spice.
Grilled scallops, coconut, macadamia, white pepper – I don’t like this one, the scallop was not fresh and overpowered by the sauce that they plastered on the mollusc.
Issan pork sausages, cabbage, ginger, lime – I loved Issan sausages. They are like Chinese Lapcheung (Sausage) but spiced with peppercorn and other Issan spices. But this one did not have the spice bomb in the sausage. Reminded me of Taiwanese Sausages that we usually buy for our family BBQ.
Twice cooked lamb ribs, tamarind nam jim jaew – Thai influence was obvious in the sauce that was drizzled on the fried lamb ribs. The lamb was grilled and then deep fried, which totally killed the meet. Even the tangy, tasty sauce did not manage to save this dish.
Green papaya salad, tamarind, chilli, peanut, snake beans – Som Tam inspired salad. The focus tonight was more Thai than anything else.
Pork belly, apple slaw, black vinegar, chilli caramel – Same treatment as the pork in the steamed bun, this one was dumped into a sweet chilli sauce that reminded me of those sweet chilli sauce that you can get in Asian supermarkets.
Stir fried barramundi, black pepper, ginger, green onion – Another dish that I did not like. Deep fried pieces of barramundi the was returned back to the work to stir fry with peppercorn and other Szechuan influence. Again, the fish was cooked to death.
Coconut water tapioca, passionfruit cream, peanut praline, caramel popcorn, lychee sorbet – I liked the lychee sorbet and the passionfruit cream. Did not understand why the popcorn was in this dessert.
The decor was modern, eclectic, and bold. Naked ladies adorned most of the walls, red lanterns in the main hall. You would not be blamed if you thought you were in a Chinese brothel. The colours crashed just like how the food crashed.
The service was very attentive. The party loved the food. But I am no fan of Chinese Fusion.
Red Spice Road
27 McKillop Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Date Visited : Apr 2018