Tag Archives: Red Spice Road

Burma Lane

I’m still surprised, that Red Spice Road‘s sister restaurant is not well known. But “not well known” still seems hard to define – most of the people around me had not heard of it, but the place was booked out the night we went.

20140712_192004

As with Red Spice Road, the service is always friendly and accommodating. I altered the number of guests a few times and they were neither annoyed nor snobbish. We also came quite late but my friends already present did not mention being rushed or questioned.

20140712_200108_

It’s a nice place to enjoy a cocktail or some mocktails with your food and I always enjoy a good drink with experimental and Asian-inspired mixes.

RSR impressed me with a mocktail once, so I eagerly tried and enjoyed a THAI DAI ($9, right) which had lychee juice, pomegranate, kaffir lime. It even had a pomegranate in it, which was impressive. The lychee gave it a good degree of sweetness and the minty taste was not overpowering as it is in some drinks, allowing the pomegranate to shine.

20140712_192007

The food is a Western take of Burmese food with South-East Asian and Indian influences. We pretty much ordered all the meat since it was a large group, the top photo being the Lamb slow cooked in Yoghurt w/ Green Pea and Tomato Biryani ($27) and Rich Beef, Sweet Potato & Pickled Lime Curry ($28).

They were both so-so dishes, not amazing us, but exhibiting some different tastes. My friends were not fans of the beef. With its big tender chunks, it still seemed a tad dry and uninteresting. Unfortunately, a lot of expectations come with dining here and this take on Burmese cuisine does not seem to have the boldest flavours.

20140712_191956

We were excited to try their Roasted Pork Belly w/ Spiced Caramel Sauce & Herbal Salad ($29), after all, the most popular dish at RSR is their caramelised pork belly with apple slaw.

There was nothing wrong with the dish, but it had the same issue with comparison – the caramelised taste felt subtler than RSR, whilst the salad was nothing special. Even as a stand alone dish, I would find the pork belly acceptable but not a standout.

20140712_191938

I did enjoy the Prawn Dry Red Curry w/ Fried Cauliflower & Coriander ($29), as the sauce was nice and it had a tiny hint of spice. I think I was too busy enjoying the night to even notice the fried cauliflower!

We did notice that a lot of the dishes looked hot with the scattered chillies but none of them seemed to really be spicy except the chicken noodle dish below ($24). This was a little bland once again, besides the mint leaves and chilli tang.

20140712_192545

Despite similar prices to Red Spice Road, the food didn’t feel as satisfying. It’s possibly due to the weaker flavours and also servings are a bit smaller, as the restaurant is located on the Paris end of town.

We ordered a second round of food for the table so ended up with pretty much the remaining meat dishes and…

The Mushrooms stir-fried w/ Shan Tofu, Greens, Yellow Noodles & Coriander ($25, below.) This did not feel like the mushrooms were the main attraction of the dish but rather the tofu. Shan tofu is a Burmese tofu, and the inside texture and taste were almost like potato.

20140712_200302

We also had the interesting sounding Chicken Aloo-Rolled Chicken w/ Potatoes, Tomato, Spices, Lemongrass & Coriander ($28). The flavour was slightly different, the sauce seemed to demonstrate more vegetable flavours with a hint of Asian herbs. I enjoyed the chicken but felt like there was very little of it.

20140712_200308

Finally, we also had some classic calamari but it seemed quite plain compared to the fancy description of Calamari w/ Apple, Sweet Pork, Tomato & Herb Salad ($28). To me, it just felt like calamari, tomato and a few leaves…

20140712_200230

Unfortunately, this place did not live up to the hype. That is the unfortunate thing about having such a popular restaurant chain already, but may also explain why some people still haven’t heard of Burma Lane. The service and people are always top notch at both RSR and Burma Lane, but unfortunately this “contemporary” take on Burmese food has not won me over.

Burma Lane is located 118 Little Collins St and is open 12-3pm for lunch and 6pm-late for dinner. Check out their menu here.

Burma Lane on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Modern Asian Restaurants: Red Spice Road

Red Spice Road

IMAG1706

Upon the recommendations of my sister, I made sure to go out of my way to try Red Spice Road. What better way to try it, than with a banquet ($65pp) on my 21st birthday? The RSR staff were lovely and very helpful over email whilst I was trying to organise this dinner. They even had a separate vegetarian banquet that I could order for one of my guests.

IMAG1702

But the most horrible thing that could happen to me (ME! The one who never stops eating!) happened that night. I had a stomach ache!!! I tried to power my way through everything, but by the last mains, I was struggling.

Once again, this post will not cover one trip but several visits – which should already indicate that I’ve given this place a thumbs up. The starters for my banquet (above) included Betel Leaf with Smoked Chicken, Prawn, Chilli, Mint and Lemongrass and Chilli Salt Lamb Ribs. The betel leaves were refreshing and the lamb just the right level of saltiness, making the crispy ribs even more addictive.

IMAG1791

I can’t go through every single banquet dish due to my memory, but let’s just say despite the high price, I definitely found it worth it. By the last round of mains (the infamous pork belly, which I will get to, was in the first round), we were still surprised there was food coming out and really struggling! The service at RSR (McKillop St) was also very prompt and attentive.

The above dessert from the banquet is some sort of pandan/coconut dish, which I can’t give a clear judgement on due to my dislike for coconut. To be honest, on my other trip (only several days later), we ordered the below desserts, and I can’t really judge any of them due to pandan/coconut being in everything! The one on the left was slightly more bearable as it included mango, and was in some glutinous rice pudding I think. This was earlier in the year though, so they’ve since changed their menu and I wouldn’t mind trying some of them (rosewater meringue and lychee sorbet, chocolate delice or banana dumplings!)

IMAG1809

I was also impressed by their drinks. Mocktails such as their pineapple freshca (below) proved their subtle Asian influences work well. I mentioned in an earlier post that you will learn I don’t like a lot of things – including pineapple. However the pineapple taste was not strong due to the crushed ice and the addition of mint leaves just made it almost as refreshing as a newly squeezed lemonade – but better. Sadly, I’m not sure if it’s still on the menu as it’s not on the website!

IMG_20130119_145532

I admit, what we really go back eagerly for each time is the Pork Belly with Apple Slaw, Chilli Caramel and Black Vinegar ($35, bottom right). Ask anyone who has been to RSR, and this will be their top dish. When we heard they changed their menu we were horrified until they said “….except for the pork belly!” The caramel and vinegar ensure that it’s slightly sweet, but also that the sauce is rich and sticky. It also has just the right amount of greens. You’ll see that there’s extra sauce on the side in the picture, always comes in handy!

IMAG5147

If you’re not already sick of my rant and wondering how I have the stomach to eat all this, I still have a few more dishes to go. The top picture (which was at Red Spice Road QV) includes mushrooms wrapped in calamari and some special BBQ chicken – I can’t remember the exact menu name and it’s not online, but the menu made it sound like some exotic BBQ chicken. Sadly, it tasted pretty average and didn’t have much flavour, I was expecting something slightly chilli or a smoky BBQ taste. The calamari was good but a small serving and we were so hungry we…ordered another serving of the pork belly. Why not?

On another trip to the McKillop St branch (I don’t have good photos, sorry) we had some dishes, which I would recommend over the above ones. This included a Beef Massaman Curry ($37) and Wild Barramundi with Cucumber, Herbs and roasted Shallot smashed Pork Green Nam Jim ($38). My friend prefers the Chin Chin Massaman, but I prefer this version as it’s not as thick and full of large chunks of vegies, but is served with potatoes, which works better in my opinion. I enjoyed the fish in it’s light Thai-insipired sauce, and I appreciate the amount of greens and herbs that RSR provides. Herbs aren’t always to everyone’s taste, but perhaps it’s the Asian in me.

IMAG3543

A few more points about RSR, I prefer the original McKillop St branch. Never fear, the pork belly is just as good in both venues, but their menus slightly vary. The QV branch has individual tables, which is better than yelling across communal tables at the McKillop branch, thus they have some smaller dishes. Their McKillop St menu seems to reflect the seating, listing large dishes to share. However, I just enjoy the atmosphere, the service and the menu a bit more at the original venue. If you’re lucky enough you might not end up on a communal table and somewhere nice and comfy like the spot in the above picture!

The pork belly will continue to bring us back, so each time we will just order a few more dishes (like sides to our pork belly) and I can keep testing out their menu!

Red Spice Road McKillop St is open for lunch 12-3pm and dinner 5pm-late Mon- Sat and is located at 27 McKillop St in the CBD.
Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

Red Spice Road QV is open for lunch 12-3pm everyday, dinner 5pm-late Mon-Fri and 6pm-late on weekends. They are located at 31-37 Artemis Lane QV.
Red Spice Road QV on Urbanspoon