Last weekend, S, Auntie and I visited the newly opened Red Spice Road at QV. Located in QV Square, the restaurant is large and airy, sleek and modern, with David Bromley’s contemporary artwork making a reappearance. Other than this commonality, it is quite minimalist in its design compared with the vibrant Oriental decor of the McKillop St establishment.
John McLeay’s pan-Asian menu is designed for sharing, paying homage to classic Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai flavours. There are some dishes in common with the McKillop St restaurant, as well as some variations. We decided to go with the Express Banquet menu; $25pp for an appetiser, three shared mains and the option of adding dessert for $5.
First up, betel leaf topped with a fragrant mixture of chicken mince, mint, peanuts, coconut and chili.
For mains, we had to have Red Spice Road’s famous pork belly; large, tender chunks of pork, coated in tapioca and fried until golden and crispy, sitting in a pool of sweet chili caramel and topped with fresh apple slaw.
This was accompanied by a rich, more-ish lamb rendang; beautifully soft lamb pieces stewed with potato in a coconut curry sauce.
Our third selection was a larb ped; duck mince with coriander, mint, shallots and a sweet, lime and chili dressing.
For dessert, pandan cream and coconut jelly with peanut praline, puffed wild rice, tapioca pearls and coconut ice cream. This was a great dessert; the custard was incredibly creamy, with the consistency of panna cotta, and had a strong pandan flavour, while the other components served to add some interesting textures to the mix.
The portions were very generous. Five would probably be a good number to comfortably finish the three-main banquet. The food was invariably delicious; each dish featured a good balance of sweetness, acidity, salt, spice and fresh, fragrant herbs. It also caters well for gluten-free and dairy-free; brilliant that fried items are coated in tapioca as opposed to flour.