Red Spice Road has new digs and a new groove

Red Spice Road's signature pork belly with hot mint slaw, black vinegar and chilli caramel.
Red Spice Road's signature pork belly with hot mint slaw, black vinegar and chilli caramel. Photo: Supplied

After 12 years of serving Melburnians its iconic caramelised pork belly dish in McKillop Street, Red Spice Road has moved 100 metres away to a new building with a new head chef and a new a la carte menu (don't worry, the pork belly came, too).

When the enormous brass doors opened in early November, Korean-born Sungeun Mo was promoted to head chef having been part of the team for three years. Her new menu drops later this week. Old favourites like pork bao, Korean beef ribs and kungpao cauliflower remain, but there are plenty of newbies, like duck with smoked banana chilli relish on cassava crackers, and lamb shank curry with roti and pickled mustard green.

The move to the former Fo Guang Yuan Buddhist Art Gallery follows the redevelopment of the McKillop Street precinct. After a $2.5 million fitout by Mammoth Projects, this is Red Spice Road 2.0.

Tofu stir-fry with lotus root, snow peas and king oyster mushroom at Red Spice Road.
Tofu stir-fry with lotus root, snow peas and king oyster mushroom at Red Spice Road.  Photo: Supplied

Inside the 1900s heritage-listed facade is a marble lobby and staircase strung with red lanterns and decorated with serene statues, standing guard over the entrance. Beneath vaulted ceilings, the restaurant seats up to 300 across a main dining area, mezzanine, lounge and bar. Regulars will be familiar with the David Bromley artworks, but the custom silk lantern is a new addition.

Red Spice Road's owners have also used the move as an opportunity to boost sustainable practices, adding an Orca aerobic organic waste disposal system and glass crusher that reduces glass waste by 80 per cent.

Red Spice is open daily from noon-3pm & 5-10pm at 141 Queen Street, Melbourne, 03 9603 1601, redspiceroad.com