Red Spice Road, Melbourne
My favourite dish in Melbourne (tough call!) is the pork belly, chili caramel, apple slaw and black vinegar dish from Red Spice Road. I first discovered it at their QV store and I made my way to the original for their express lunch banquet menu. This menu is only available at certain times, and is updated fortnightly. It’s an easy $29.50pp for an appetiser and three shared mains. We had the cassava cracker with beef tamarind relish followed by the pork belly, lamb adobo and crispy garlic white pepper chicken. Portions are considerable with quality identical to their dinner offerings. Outstanding in every dish we had and as such, I remained really impressed with Red Spice Road.
Red Spice Road is a bit more expensive than some of the other Asian-fusion restaurants around, but the quality has always been good in my experience. With the express lunch menu that value turns right back around. I pulled in my friend Ryan to join me in to sample their lunch efforts. We started off with the tamarind wagyu beef relish. We had no idea what form this was going to take, it ended up being more more of a DIY meat mix with the cassava cracker. It was a good bite, and the tamarind used thoughtfully as to not overpower the rest of the dish. Also, very quick with all the mains coming out not long after.
I love this dish because as well as being pork belly, it’s fried, is sweet and feels so naughty enjoying it. The meat is tender and manageable with a spoon and the sweet caramel and slaw goes so well. The sauce also goes perfect with the rice and I’d love to get a bottle of it.
I was very surprised with the crispy garlic white pepper chicken with cucumber relish. This is one of the best coating/ flavour combinations I’ve had in Melbourne. It was a very enjoyable bite. Only qualms was there wasn’t enough of it and I didn’t really care for the lettuce presentation aspects. More meat, always. The lamb and pork were both big portions.
Ryan’s favourite was the lamb adobo. Like the pork belly, it’s a huge serving and the flavours of soy vinegar and green onion are balanced. The quality of lamb is top and the sauce goes great with the rice, which is included in the menu in this case. So two out of two for Red Spice Road, but if I have to pick between the two visits, I preferred the lunch execution with the value for money and speed factor being particularly exemplary.