Sunday, July 8, 2012

Red Spice Road @ Melbourne CBD

Much has been talked about Chin Chin and I will get to write about it when I upload the horrible grainy pictures I took that night but this post is all about Red Spice Road. 

Opened back in 2008, the menu is South East Asian inspired and the decor is hip and modern. If you would like, RSR is like the middle child with Longrain as the elder brother and Chin Chin as the younger brother. Essentially all of them serve similar cuisine in hip and cool settings but there are little bits and pieces that differentiate who they are.

For one, RSR does an early bird special where if you order before 6 and vacate by 7 (only valid between Monday - Friday), you can order a 3 / 5 course banquet menu for $25 / $30 per head (although the 5 course banquet requires a table of 6 and above). To put that into perspective, dinner at Longrain was 60 bucks a head and Chin Chin was 50 bucks a head. If you think well, I got to eat at 6, you should also know to eat at Chin Chin, you got to eat by 6 too (unless you patiently queue).        

Two, this is on the Bourke / Elizabeth St side of town vs. the east side of town where Longrain and Chin Chin is. 

Three, go figure yourself because I realise I can't be bothered thinking about the third. 

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So on to the food. If there is one thing you should order, it is the sticky pork belly. Deep fried, sweet and a little spicy, it is worth the calories. Worthy of being a signature dish of this restaurant. However coming in a party of 6, we realised the portion was only good for 1 piece per person. In true Malaysian blood, the comment around the table was "where got enough!?"

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As part of the early dinner set menu, there was a chicken and herb salad to start the meal. To those who don't like bean sprouts and chicken breast, this might not be your thing but for me, it works as a lunch salad rather than a dinner salad, furthermore one that you eat with rice. 

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Battered barramundi pieces tossed with a watermelon and cucumber salad / dressing. While some on the table looked at it wondering what was so South East Asian about this dish, I appreciated it for one reason, it wasn't spicy and it was kind of refreshing to eat alongside some of the curries we had below.

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With most South East Asians, dinner requires a plate of vegetables or two, especially if one is ordering dishes to share. This seemed to be that vegetable dish for us that night. I vaguely remember pumpkin (yes, that's right, you can see it in the picture) and the curry was good to have along with rice.


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The Massaman Curry was good but not as good as the one we had at Longrain. That being said, who can really say no to melt in your mouth beef chunks and potatoes?


Overall, generous portions (with the exception of the pork belly because everyone wanted to have seconds) but the fixed choices and the cheaper prices in the early bird menu means no flexibility and some people not liking some dishes. I said this before but the pork belly is a somewhat must order.


 For those who have the Entertainment Card, its another 25% discount for you (one time only and subject to a cap). Another difference between RSR and Longrain and Chin Chin!


Address and contact details:

Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Not many restaurants will feed you $30 per person with all these dishes in a hip and cool setting even if that means having to eat at 6 and leave at 7. Although RSR is not just all about value, delivering good flavours too. 

3 comments:

Sean said...

this is a cool early bird bargain! and based on your description of the dishes, sounds like there was no compromise in the quality of the food despite the discounted rate :D

Michelle Chin said...

at this point, i think chin chin is pretty overhyped... and pricey. if i had to choose, i would prefer longrain over chinc hin.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

mchin: we went just 2 weeks ago and liked what we ordered (although i do didnt quite like the noisy / tight seating arranagement). longrain only downfall for me is the too small of a menu.

sean: definitely dont think so, the quality was there but the options i reckon were a little safe and rigid.