Embodying the community and the spirit of the family unit in Asia, Red Spice Road is a fun and modern take on casual, street-inspired food, with an emphasis on sharing plates and humongous, make-friends-with-your-neighbour dining tables. Come in for a late dinner and the restaurant will still be packed from front to back, with the deafening chatter of large and smaller groups drifting throughout. RSR is beautifully decorated, with the huge long room at the front leading to a table at the back where diners’ seats circle an omnipotent red lantern dangling from the ceiling. All of this is partitioned off from the neon red bar area to the side.
Lychee Passion ($9.50), Lemon Lime and BittersWith a fully decked out bar, the drinks list is extensive, with plenty of creatively Asian takes on the classics. The lychee passion is a sweet concoction of fresh passionfruit (seeds included), lychee and grape juice, and freeshly squeed lemon juice. Finished off with house made kaffir lime syrup, it’s both refreshing and light.
Chilli salt lamb ribs ($18)I was completely blown away by the chilli salt lamb ribs – they were that damn good. The crunchy outer crust gave way to pieces of succulent lamb that easily fell off the bone. They were also accompanied by a sweet pineapple tamarind dipping sauce; a marriage that was oh so addictive.
Pork belly with apple slaw, chilli caramel and black vinegar ($36)I don’t usually order pork belly (for the very reason that it’s often so filling that it goes to waste), but this one’s a must; huge, tender chunks of pork belly, accompanied by a crunchy salad of apple slaw, and a dressing of chilli caramel and black vinegar. The juicy cuts of pork were crispy on the outside, with the sweetness of the caramel sauce adding depth to the dish. Lip-smackingly gorgeous on the eyes and irresistible at the same time.
Pork belly with apple slaw, chilli caramel and black vinegar ($36)
Goat Rendang ($34)Now unfortunately it was only at this point that I realised that we had ordered way too many dishes. So from here on, it was a bit of a struggle to finish off the rendang. With hearty cuts of goat and thin slices of potato doused in a thick curry sauce, the rendang was tasty though admittedly lacking the wow factor of the pork belly. It was nonetheless a tasty rendition of an Asian fave, and was quickly soaked up by fluffy bowls of jasmine rice.
Goat Rendang ($34)I was completely won over by Red Spice Road the moment I stepped in. The concept – the insane communal tables, the vibrant chatter, the attentive service, the sparks of intense flavours, and the beautiful, softly-lighted decor – truly encapsulates a familial nature that in turn creates an animated, peppy atmosphere that is utterly enchanting. Make sure you make a booking – it’s a busy place, and it would be a shame to miss this one. Red Spice Road 27 McKillop Street Melbourne VIC 3000