27 McKillop Street, Melbourne
(03) 9603 1601
“Red Spice Road, a 4 year old Thai/Vietnamese restaurant on the little alley of McKillop, headed by ex-Livebait chef, John Mcleay . It’s look – modern with vibrant reds, elegant browns, and beautifully adorned with lanterns”
Not too long ago, my sister and brother (-in-law) took me out to RSR for my birthday. They had raved to me about how great the food was and naturally, I was keen to visit it!
The restaurant is very spacious and open. A lot of thought had obviously been put into the design and decorations which I found quite quite impressive. Rather than individual tables, people are seated on broad, long tables which are reflective of their ‘sharing food’ philosophy. The mood is dark and romantic, but being food bloggers – that means taking pictures are harder! Apologies if the pictures don’t look quite as nice (we were given a few funny looks during the night. Imagine one of us holding our phones as the light source, whilst the other tries to take photos in awkward poses)
On to foodie goodness!
Between the three of us we ordered: 2 entrees, 3 mains and 3 desserts.
It’s like an “open watermelon-sandwich”! If you break the dish down to what its made up of you’ll find the pork/prawn component tangy, slightly dry and very salty. Combining it with the moist, sweet watermelon brings a bit of balance but i still found the meat a little overpowering. Points for creativity though.
We all expected this dish to look like those found in cafes around town but were surprised to find a ‘Haam Sui Gok’ (dish in Yum Cha)-like dish. The outside is beautifully crisp whilst maintaining a the soft, spongy texture on the inside. The sweet chilli ginger was lovely and is what really makes this dish?
Main #1: Red Curry of Lamb shoulder, green peppercorns, pumpkin and okra.
We all picked a main each and mine was the Red Curry of Lamb Shoulder, Green Peppercorns, Pumpkin & Okra. Ever since my sister introduced me to her home-made a red duck curry dish I’ve always had this thing for red curries. I’m not a big fan of Okra and those found in the dish didn’t change my opinion of it. Nevertheless, it was a good curry with tender lamb meat! Some places over do the coconut and spices but there was a good balance here. (StilI, I wouldn’t have minded it being a little hotter.)
There’s one thing my brother-in-law can’t resist and that’s Pork Belly. But then again, I’m sure there’s many others who can’t help but order a good serving of the fatty meat. Of the Asian cuisines, Thai tends to lean towards the sweeter side of things and this dish was no exception. I generally don’t mind the sweetness but I believe it limits the amount you can eat because of the richness. Thankfully, the addition of a black vinegar brings the sour element into it and makes this dish stand out from other pork bellies I’ve had. (The apple slaw is alright – light and refreshing. But you know that’s not the reason why you’ll order this…)
My sister’s choice – but one we unanimously agreed on. Unfortunately, it didn’t stand out. The soft-shell crab was fried very well but other than that it was bland – no sauces to accompany it. The papaya salad was also underwhelming, being just…sour. This probably isn’t a dish to order alone if you’re after something with a ‘wow-factor’. But with several dishes, it provides a good break from the heavy richness of others.
Lychee-filled Jam Donuts. Reading this had us all jittery because we love lychees and we love jam donuts! Buuuuuut, it was just too tough and chewy – not of fluffy consistency and we couldn’t find any lychees in there! There was the taste of lychee but no whole pieces (maybe we got jibbed). The ice-cream was nice, but did little to soothe our disappointment.
Dessert #2 – Lemongrass pannacotta and watermelon jelly
Because my ‘elders’ had picked the 2 desserts I was tossing up between, I decided to give the pannacotta a try. Technique-wise, it had an excellent consistency, being very smooth. Taste-wise, it failed to impress. The lemongrass flavour was subtle (which was good) but the watermelon ‘jelly’ didn’t hit the mark. I love to indulge in my desserts, but for those who’d prefer a light finish, this might work for you.
Dessert #3 – Passionfruit Brulee with puffed wild-rice and Coconut ice-cream
This was the best dessert we ordered on the night, I personally love passionfruit, so almost anything that has passionfruit in it is a win for me. The consistency and the flamed, crisp surface were excellent. The anchovy-looking wild rice enhanced the texture and the ice-cream is always a nice addition, even though it didn’t have much of a coconut flavour,
The service was attentive. But not a ‘Flower Drum’ attentive – it was actually bordering on annoying. Our waitress wasn’t particularly friendly and was constantly pestering us by asking if we had finished our dishes (even when there was still food on the plate). We understand that there are two seatings but the feeling of being rushed through a meal – just. isn’t. pleasant. Having said that, I’m sure not all of them are like this.
————————————————–Based on this experience————————————————–
RSR is a beautifully set-up restaurant and I wish I could’ve taken more photos of it to show you! Our choices from the menu were a little bit of a hit and miss, however, there are definitely some very decent dishes on offer. Recommended.