A short walk from the CBD, on the corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
A brightly lit cube on the corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets houses Hot Space, a Chinese restaurant specialising in authentic Sichuan dishes and hotpots. Crowded with students during the day, this noisy diner serves up great lunch specials – wontons, dumplings, rice with stir-fried pork and preserved pickles or hot and sour fish slices are the order of the day. By night choose from a wide variety of classic Sichuan dishes such as gong bao chicken, ma po tofu, fish fragrant shredded pork or the intriguingly named “Linked Mountain back to wok” (double cooked) sliced pork. Twenty dollar hotpots are also excellent value. Choose your chilli level and meat, vegetables and noodles from the all-you can-eat buffet, before immersing them in the steaming broth at your table.
Hot Space doesn’t pull any punches for the uninitiated but lovers of this cuisine will appreciate its authenticity. Menu items include “fiery kidney flower” and “hair blood prosperity” (sliced beef, ox tripe, blood jelly and vegetables in hot pot), while buffet ingredients include blood jelly, chicken giblets, tripe, black fungus and lotus root as well as more Western fare. Cooling desserts include “cool silver ear” (white fungus soup) and sago with coconut milk. Staff work really hard to please and are very helpful even if, at times, somewhat erratic. It may not be the place for a leisurely dinner but Hot Space is ideal for reasonably-priced, authentic Sichuan food and the hotpots can also be great fun for groups.