Friday, October 02, 2009

Red Spice Road

27 McKillop St
Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9603 1601

Renee Zellweger was had at hello, I was had at the food here I believe is similar to that of Longrain, but I believe is a hell of a lot more tasty. Those were the words written by Adski that made me want to go to Red Spice Road, since I think the food at Longrain is sensational.

This review of Red Spice Road is actually from two visits there. Yep, that's how much I wanted to love it. But my verdict, like Cindy's verdict, is mixed. Cindy's done a lot more research and linked to many other bloggers reviews so go check out her post.

The interior of the restaurant, I think, is stunning. It's got such a great design, really drawing your eye down the length of the room to the stunning centre chandelier and paintings at the back wall. Usually, I hate dark restaurants and I still think the room could use a bit more lighting, but it does have a very cool feel about it.

There's been many suggestions from people that these paintings are either done by Poh from Masterchef, or are actually of her. I don't really know about both. Nonetheless, the paintings are rather risque and dramatic.

We ordered a number of cocktails but as raved about by Adski and Cindy, the Chi Chi drink made from caramelised pineapple was stunning. I drank two, as did most of the table.

The Oysters were flavoured with lime, spring onion, salmon caviar and were a zingy mouthfull of flavour.

A dish of Red Curry Duck was ok but not really that great. The duck wasn't roasted as much as I wanted, but the sauce was good. The Beef Cheeks tasted quite bland and boring. They tasted of a dominating saltiness and not much else.

A Wagyu Beef Stir Fried Noodles was extremely disappointing. The noodles were all floopy and lacked that "wok breath" that you get at Asian restaurants. The dish was only half eaten by the six of us. The Pork Belly was the best dish of the night, but still wasn't great. I liked the actually belly part, but the accompanying flavours didn't cause it to zing, instead being both overly salty and sweet at the same time.

A dish of Tofu with Mushrooms was again a real let down. Even a quick stir fry of those two ingredients can be a great dish, but the items were soggy and flavourless. The Barramundi in broth again lacked any flavour and tasted like it had been boiled in water.

On my second visit, I tried the Pork Belly again and once again, it was just overly salty and sweet. I also tried the Calamari Salad. This was major disappoint to the extreme. The calamari was all floppy and soggy and the whole salad was just sour sour sour.

A Seafood in Broth dish lacked flavour, because the ingredients were not of a high quality. Having eaten prawns, scallops and fish my whole life, I know when it's fresh. The tiny scallops were so small and of the frozen variety. Prawns were soaked to be firm but no flavour.

Well, so far the savoury dishes have been a massive let down, so how can the review be mixed. Well, desserts were absolutely amazing. A dish of lychee donuts was inspired. Why hasn't anyone ever stuffed fruit (not jam, but fruit) inside a donut. It was served with a chilli sauce that gave it a nice kick.

The tropical fruit plate was again magic. I absolutely love my tropical fruits and they rarely appear on any dessert menus in restaurant. Even if they appear, it's in the form of mangos only. But in this dessert platter, there was a stunning passionfruit brulee (I love brulees and this twist was great), a mangosteen trifle (yummy yum yum), kaffir lime granita (really refreshing) and a stunning mango ice cream atop black sticky rice.

The last dessert of Baked Apple and Dragon Fruit was a great flavour combo. I love that slightly weird fragrant flavour of the dragon fruit and how it paired with the sweet baked apple. The puffed rice, peanut praline and cinnamon ice cream all worked to further enhance the dessert.

Service was efficient and straight forward. There was no unnecessary chit chat as they went about their work. The ambience in the room had a lounge bar feel to it, not being rowdy but was getting quite loud. We had to shout at each other across the tables to be heard. As great as the tables looked, they weren't too functional in the sense that they are too wide and it's hard to engage with your friends across the table.

So, in conclusion, I would definitely say the food here comes nowhere near Longrain in my opinion. While all the dishes at Longrain was a beautiful blend of flavours that made my taste buds jump about, all the dishes here were bland and one dimensional in flavour. The desserts and cocktails/mocktails, were brilliant, and I would come back just for them next time.

Overall Rating: 13/20, Desserts and cocktails sensational, come just to eat dessert and have a drink. Food unfortunately not so good for the price.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon


  1. I agree about returning just for the mocktails and desserts! Not sure if I could convince Michael to make a sweets-only trip though. :-D

  2. Those lychee donuts look fantastic!!!

    Shame about the rest of the meal. I really like Longrain!!!

  3. Cindy, I would definitely go back just for desserts. You will just have to use your powers of pursuasion to convince Michael.

    Sarah, lychees donuts are an interesting idea that works. Longrain is the place for good Thai food that's for sure.