|Table settings for Seafood Lane as part of Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, 9 March 2014, Red Spice Road, Mackillop Lane, Melbourne|
Orderly seating arrangements and drinks on arrival made for a convivial atmosphere of food lovers, tourists and food tourists – all happy to chat about the festival, the warm day and the impending south-east Asian seafood feast by Red Spice Road.
|Drinks served at the long tables|
We could see food arriving up the top of the long tables, with smells and appreciative noises quickly filtering down via an army of plate-clad waiters.
|Banh mi with soft shell crab, cucumber, herbs and spicy turmeric mayo|
I'm not sure why I've never had a soft shell crab banh mi before because it's an excellent idea – a small, round burger bun holding a crisply deep fried soft shell crab, with spindly legs sticking out among cucumber and fresh green herbs like coriander and mint.
|Banh mi with soft shell crab|
|Scallop with poached chicken, jellyfish, shiso and green chili|
|Calamari stuffed with Issan pork sausage|
|Spicy salmon, green onion and sesame tartare on crispy sticky rice|
The concept was fun and the diced and dressed raw salmon very moreish, but the overall texture of the crisp sticky rice meant it was of a tooth-sticking nature.
Wines were topped up and plates were cleared with efficiency and smiles; a pretty impressive logistical outcome given the length of the table and the waiters' walk back to the laneway restaurant in the hot sun.
|Octopus, tomato, coriander and shallot salad|
We started with an eye-opening salad of tender octopus tentacles and tomato – a combination that I wouldn't have expected. Pimped up with loads of fresh coriander and sliced shallots, it was a surprisingly fresh salad where the seafood shone in a well-balanced pairing.
|Laotian prawn green curry with potato and dill|
Most interestingly, beneath the generous coriander garnish, the dill addition to the curry sauce was outstanding – whether the match with potatoes or it being one of my favourite herbs, it really made the green curry unique and memorable.
|Barramundi with snake bean sambal and crispy anchovies|
The golden surface of the fish fillets hid a overcooked interior and even with the sambal sauce, it was a slightly dry experience. However, the sambal beans were a delight along with whole crispy anchovies entering Malaysian cuisine territory.
|Long tables for Seafood Lane|
|Pineapple panna cotta with coconut jelly, gula melaka caramelised pineapple, cashew praline and Sang Som ice cream|
|Pineapple panna cotta with Sang Som ice cream|
|Red Spice Road restaurant interior|
Food, booze and shoes attended Seafood Lane at Red Spice Road as a guest.