The architecturally designed restaurant boasts five dining precincts, which can be used as private function spaces. The centrepiece of the main restaurant is a round table capable of seating 60 guests, with a backdrop of floor to ceiling David Bromley originals. Off to the side, a courtyard is nestled under the gaze of the city skyline. The Lotus rooms are another defining feature of the space, which cater for intimate private functions. Head Chef John McLeay has designed an exciting menu based on South Eastern Asian cuisine and taking into account the communal sharing concept of the region.
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This is a big change for McKillop Street, one of those narrow roads that run from north to south, linking the smaller streets (Little Collins) with the main ones (Bourke). Cafes are the norm in such streets; Red Spice Road is contrastingly big and bold, and rather beautiful in a red way. There's nothing low-key about it. The space is cleverly designed, with a long bar and a number of areas that can be used for dining, or for sitting around over a drink and a chat. Mostly the tables are large and communal, although there are a handful of smaller ones suitable for intimate gatherings. There are two nice surprises – a real courtyard, open to the sky and city skyline with luscious foliage flanking each side, and a large room dominated by an immense red lantern over a ring table. Two crescents form the ring, which can seat dozens side by side.
The food is Thai, with some enterprising modern influences. The menu is designed around dishes to share although, at a pinch, you could order on your own. There are well-rounded banquet menus (minimum of two to share) for lunch and for dinner. If not the tasting menu, consider scallops with smoked trout, coriander and kaffir lime to start, and a salad with shredded chicken, mint, bean noodles, lemongrass and coconut to follow. The choices are varied and dishes are layered with complex flavours that are not too chilli-fierce. The drinks list includes innovative cocktails, a good range of beers, and a refined wine list that is well-chosen to match the food.