Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Spice in the Road

Unfortunately our high hopes for this place were unfulfilled. Where did all the flavour go? And I'd prefer not to have gritty coriander as a garnish. 

The surroundings were nice, but the food was really pretty uninspiring for the price. If I'd eaten similar dishes in a lower-priced venue I might be more charitable, but at this level, I really expect something more.

We liked the sound of the Tasting Banquet and asked if we could have a vegetarian version.

'Yes of course - just select which dishes you would like vegetarian versions of.'

We did this, but then rushing back from the kitchen our waitress indicated that she was mistaken and that the only vegetarian dishes available were 

'A stir-fry, papaya salad and a green curry.'

'Ok, no worries, we'll one of each of those.' says I.

Not a perfect start, but no problem.

Shortly thereafter, we were presented with a vegetarian version of the Betel Leaf entree (see pic). The dish was a puree of ginger, onion flakes, a tiny bit of chilly, kaffir lime and maybe pureed cabbage? It was interesting, but not something I'd order again.

Next came the three mains. They were attractively presented and looked the part, but the flavours just weren't there for me.

The stir-fry was a variation on Char Kway Teow with flat rice noodles as a base and mushrooms, capsicum and snap peas. The primary source of flavouring was soy sauce with a tiny bit of sesame oil and coriander. Frankly I've had tastier version of this dish in food courts. The other strike against this dish was the crunchy/gritty sensation which I think came from coriander which hadn't been washed properly and was still covered in dirt - ewww.

The Papaya Salad was a poor imitation of its authentic Thai cousin. I realise that the classic version of this dish has a liberal dose of fish-sauce, but we have had plenty of vegetarian versions in Thailand with light-soy mixed with a dash of mushroom oyster sauce that were delicious. The main disappointment was the absence of the Thai quartet of spicy, salty, sweet and sour that should combine to make the dish what it is. I don't think this dish actually had a chilli in it at all. Perhaps the chefs are caving to a chilli averse clientele. But surely a place named Red Spice Road can get away with at least the option of some chilli in its dishes.

Finally, the vegetarian Green Curry. The flavours in this dish were also very diluted. It was probably the better of all the dishes, but was more sweet than normal and a long way from authentic.

Mi and I were at Red Spice Road for our wedding anniversary lunch and I really would have hoped for a little more sophistication and frankly more spice! 

Staff were accommodating and helpful, but the food really wasn't any better than standard 'food court' fare.

Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

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