Sunday Lunch at iSpicy Restaurant
80 Victoria St, Richmond
19 January 2014
Review by Jenny Scholes
We approached the restaurant along Victoria Street, which was closed to traffic but full of people and stalls, as it was the day of the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival. There was so much to look at - the sights, smells and sounds of traditional Vietnamese & Chinese culture, including a parade featuring several dragon-like Chinese Lion Dancers, and a celestial band-drum performance by the Falundafa in their bright yellow costumes. There was also the opening of the City of Yarra's new arched 'gateway' at the entrance to Victoria Street.
A very enjoyable lunch at iSpicy was had by all who attended. We were at a long table in the spacious upstairs room, and the staff were friendly and attentive. Everyone agreed the lunch was delicious, comprising of entrees of chicken satay (with the best ever peanut sauce), vegetarian spring rolls, and five main courses with steamed rice: Panang beef, cashew chicken, mixed vegetables with tofu in oyster sauce, spicy beef with sweet basil, and pots of fragrant (but hot!) tom yum chicken soup.
There were two desserts. The sweet sticky rice with banana was served with ice cream and decorated with little shapes of jelly, and the very more-ish sweet potato delights were small fried balls of white sweet potato, served on attractive blue and white china cake stands. All of this, of course, was accompanied by many glasses of wine and water, and lively discussions on all manner of things, including art and marketing of artworks. It was great to be able to share stories and information over a relaxed lunch, and there was plenty of space to allow people to move around and mingle.
At the end of the lunch, as we were preparing to leave, we heard the enticing sounds of the roving Chinese percussion band that accompanied the Lion Dancers – drums, cymbals, and firecrackers. We walked out into Victoria Street and joined the throng of this amazing festival at its height.
Click image below to see some photos of the lunch and the Lunar Festival celebrations in Victoria Street Richmond outside the restaurant.