Skip to main content

Oriental Spirit

One of my best friends and I had polished off a bottle of champagne (a relatively normal Tuesday for us...) and were in dire need of food. It being mid-January, my local pub was still closed for summer holidays, so we headed down to Victoria Street in Richmond and basically chose the first open restaurant we saw (after one we'd already been to). The lucky winner: Oriental Spirit (54 Victoria Street, Richmond).



It had been one of those appalling 35+ degree days, but was starting to cool down, so the front had been opened up, allowing a pleasant airflow and a nice closeness to the passing Vietnamese nannas and friendly local dealers. There was also a non-offensive view of the bank across the road. Score!

I was a little tipsy (surprise, surprise), so can't say that I really noted what sort of cuisine Oriental Spirit offered; I just assumed, like many other restaurants along Victoria Street - and especially because of its vague name - that they served pan-Asian cuisine. A bit of Googling has since revealed it is actually of the Thai persuasion. And, in retrospect, that makes complete sense, as both the noodle dishes we ordered were staples of Thai cuisine: Pad See-Ew and Pad Thai (duh). They were delicious, although I was in a somewhat-drunken stupor of hunger, so cardboard probably would have tasted great to me then. I wasn't able to finish (too full of bubbles, probably) and took the leftovers home - so I am able to report from those that they were indeed delicious!

Beef Pad See-Ew

Chicken Pad Thai

I do recall that the staff were very friendly and smiley - a pleasant change from others I've been to in the area. I also very much enjoyed the menu, with its "tofo", descriptions of prawn crackers but no explanation for Lettuce Delight*, and "Thai hot" being a measure of spiciness:

Prawn crackers clearly described; Crispy "Tofo" on offer

"Thai hot"... God forbid

*While we're on Lettuce Delight -- what's with that?! I knew it as San Choi Bow growing up (or some variation of that), possibly because I always ate it at Chinese restaurants. But wherever I've seen it in Melbourne - admittedly, usually at pan-Asian restaurants - it's called Lettuce Delight. Often it's delightful; I'm not disputing that. It's always encased in lettuce. Only, it seems like a bit of an airy-fairy name rather than authentic. Y'know?! ...Okay, rant over.

Also, and I know this is dorky, but I really liked the cutlery. It was big and heavy and looked kinda like silver bamboo. My friend also liked the serviettes. Can't remember why. (Why?)



I quite liked Oriental Spirit, and if I ever get through the gazillion other restaurants along Victoria Street, I would like to go back. Hell, I'll probably be back there next week, just because of its proximity to both my house and the bottle shop.




Oriental Spirit on Urbanspoon

Popular posts from this blog

Spice Temple

Spice Temple  Neil Perry's Fine Dining Chinese Restaurant at Crown, Southbank, Melbourne
It's considered an institution in Melbourne, and with a chef to its name like Neil Perry, a location like Southbank, and an existence of six years in the Melbourne restaurant scene (when staying power is notoriously elusive), it's no wonder. Spice Temple's name is a pretty accurate description of the restaurant: food heavy in spices and spiciness; a dim space with a sort of hushed reverence.



The quiet tone of Spice Temple (Shop 7, Crown Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank) could well be due to its design. With lots of dark wood and more traditional red and gold carpet, one might be forgiven for thinking it's a little dated. What keeps it current is the symmetrical and perpendicular fittings, creating neat squared-off eating nooks, and the dark, felt-like soundproofing material spaced out overhead, muffling any white noise.



Walking into the restaurant's reception area, yo…

Mr. Miyagi

It's the place that was made infamous by the 'chopsticks incident' last December, where a young Richmond Tigers AFL player drunkenly threatened to attack a woman dining nearby with his chopsticks. But of course, Mr. Miyagi had already developed a cult following well before that.



Opening in October 2013 on the ever-so-hip Windsor portion of Chapel Street, and tickling nostalgic fancies with its reference to 1984 classic The Karate Kid, the restaurant has enjoyed a steady stream of customers since. I remember stopping by with a friend one Thursday night mid last year to enquire about a table, and we were told it would be a two-hour wait. Well! Either this place is really good, I thought, or really good at hype.



I made a calculated plan with friends to score a table there on a Friday night recently. I rocked up nice and early, 6:45pm-ish, and put my name down for a table. They advised the wait would be approximately an hour, probably less, noted down my mobile number and enco…

Saint Crispin

When Smith Street had just become a local area for me, I used to walk past Cavallero and think about how I 'must try that place soon'. But as everyone knows, Smith Street (and surrounds) is not short of venues, and I must have been busy checking out all the others first, because before I knew it, Cavallero had closed and I had missed my chance. Apparently it had been struggling. Who then, would dare to take on the site, and what would they make of it? Smith Street is a prime location, but it's also full of competition. This would have to be good.



Enter Scott Pickett (Estelle Bistro) and Joe Grbac (The Press Club). Two chefs who used to work together at London's fancy-pants The Square (which boasts not one, but two Michelin stars), they joined forces to open a brand new venue as both business partners and co-head chefs. The result: Saint Crispin (300 Smith Street, Collingwood).

Named for the patron saint of shoemakers, Saint Crispin acknowledges its site's origins a…