Part of the city Target Centre, also accessible from Bourke Street.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Its position on the main Little Bourke Street drag of Chinatown might make Spicy Fish more expensive than some of its less accessible laneway compatriots, but there is good eating to be had here – especially for lovers of chilli. Like its sister restaurant in Glen Waverley, it’s a frenetic little diner that always seems busy no matter the time of day, with equally hurried service that still somehow manages to remain fast and efficient. The degree of heat is marked clearly on the menu with one, two or three chillis, so it is easy to avoid the spicier dishes if spiciness is not your prime objective. The restaurant’s namesake dish, the spicy fish hotpot, comes as a claypot full of perfectly cooked white fish, bean shoots and stock swimming in deep red chilli oil. It is a substantial serve best suited for at least two people and combines well as part of a banquet.
Other drawcards here are the scallop and eggplant hotpot, the Shanghai style shao long bao dumplings, dong-po square soft pork and the Chongqing chicken with chillies. This dish draws its flavour from the deep-fried chicken, the peanuts and the accompanying mound of dried chillis (used to flavour the chicken, not to be eaten). Order it traditional style if you enjoy picking over bones, or it also comes boneless which makes it more succulent, somewhat easier to eat and almost like tasty chicken popcorn. There is a small wine list and several beer options to ease any unexpected fieriness. A BYO wine policy with minimal corkage helps keep prices reasonable.