Red Spice Road on McKillop Street in the CBD takes diners' tastebuds throughout China and across South East Asia with their menu, which gives traditional dishes a modern Australian spin – all without sacrificing traditional flavours. Here, you can experience the diversity of Asian cuisine in one dinner sitting. Expect western China-inspired braised lamb with steamed mantou with a side of Thai chicken salad, or a Malaysian veal rendang followed by a Vietnamese coffee crème caramel.
Come back for the... Multi-course express lunch banquet ($30-$55pp).
The sister venue to Red Spice Road is similar to the original in many ways, but the QV restaurant also stands alone as a three-level city dining destination suitable for a number of occasions. Enjoy a casual meal or drink at the lower bar area looking out onto Artemis Lane, or sit among the stylish David Bromley artworks for a long Sunday lunch on the mezzanine. Upstairs, the communal dining tables recreate the hustle and bustle of a banquet, while the Lily Rooms are ideal for special occasion bookings when you've got something to celebrate.
Come back for the... Top-notch vegetarian fare that won't make you miss the meat.
The steakhouse is as classic as classic can be, and the aptly named Meat Fish Wine is a perfect example, with a few intriguing twists. Steak fans, make sure you order the Wagyu rump steaks. The seafood options like the rich Tasmanian salmon with carrot miso puree is also a shoe-in on the protein front. As for wine, diners can opt for a familar drop or ask for something different. With more than 600 wines in the restaurant's collection, there'll be something to pair with your meal whether you're going surf or turf.
Come back for the... Express lunches or pre-theatre dinner options; convenient if you need to eat (well) and dash.
To give you a sense of what Burmese cuisine is like, Burma (now officially known as Myanmar) is a South East Asian nation bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. So it's no surprise that a dinner at Burma Lane can see diners served with spicy chicken wings with a side of the crispy Burmese balachaung relish, Thai fish cake salad, and a slow-cooked lamb biryani. This unlikely mish-mash of flavours works, but that shouldn't come as a surpise – the Burmese have been doing this for years!
Come back for the... Variety. If you can't decide between Thai, or Indian, or Chinese, why not have all in one sitting?
Apples + Pears Group is offering Time Out Melbourne readers the chance to win the ultimate dining experience at one of these restaurants. With a prize pool worth $2000 up for grabs, readers are eligible to win a dinner for four valued at $500 at either Red Spice Road, Red Spice QV, Meat Fish Wine or Burma Lane.
To enter the competition and be eligible to win, entrants must a) be over the age of 18, b) register their name and address on the online competition form, and c) opt in to the Apples + Pears Entertainment Group (APEG) email newsletter list and agree to receive email news and exclusive offers from the Apples & Pears Entertainment Group of venues (including Red Spice Road, Red Spice QV, Burma Lane and Meat Fish Wine) via the email address nominated on the entry form.
Increase your chances of winning by visiting and liking the venues on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to gain one entry per visit and/or like. Plus, you can send the competition link to your friends to gain five extra entries.
This way for the city's best dumplings
Whoever coined the phrase "the best things come in small packages" had definitely just eaten a bowl of dumplings. Get yourself a tiny pocket of happiness at these great dumpling dens.