Spice Alley is the new offering from Skycity and after a quick lunch there the other day, we think it’s a good one. It’s at the top end of the Cheap Eats budget for dinner but the portions are generous so you could easily have something great for $20 or only a tad over, if what we had was any indication.
The interior is fun – Asian parasols, wooden birdcages, loud floral upholstery, the mandatory living wall. The staff’s personalities matched the decor – bright and friendly and they were really helpful when we were trying to decide what to order.
We pushed the boat out and ordered the Korean Beef Bao (two for $12), The Roast Pork Belly Salad – Yum Mong Kup – ($16) and the Marinated Chicken – Ayam Golek ($25) and when it came out we realized we probably could have ordered a bit less – the portions were very generous and we only just managed to eat it all. My favourite was the Pork Belly Salad. The pork was perfectly cooked – skin crisped to perfection but meat and fat still tender – it was complemented well by the acid from the dressing and thin strips of tart, green apple. A bit of chilli for heat, some capsicum and spring onion for texture, and coriander) all made for a fantastic combination.
The beef in the bao was beautifully cooked with a rich, sweet bulgogi-type flavour; the addition of kimchi gave it some crunch and a nice kick. I’ve had better bao buns (the actual buns, not fillings) in other places but the slightly processed feel to them didn’t affect my enjoyment of the whole dish. It was nice to order something so rich, against the freshness and acidity of the salad.
The chicken was a lovely experience too: served with a small, simple salad and a particularly nice, airy, mini Malaysian style roti. The chicken had been marinated in turmeric and lemongrass then roasted, giving it a lovely yellow hue. The drinks menu had a fun array of cocktails and a fairly standard range of beers and wine and some interesting traditional non-alcoholic drinks like Kopi O and Kopi Cham.
We’re not sure what it’s like for dinner, as the menu is slightly different but Spice Alley is definitely worth checking out for some fun causal food, in a super cute environment right in the heart of the city.