If you regularly holiday in Casuarina, Kingscliff, Cabarita or their surrounds then you’ll know Spice Den. Its gussied up take on pan-Asian share plates has seen the restaurant become a linchpin of the Northern Rivers dining scene since opening in 2012.
Now Spice Den is taking on the big smoke, owners Scott Wilson, Pukrit Srithongzai, Simon Rouvroy, Arthur Celador and Chaiwat Jinuphan unveiling a second outlet in the stylish ground-floor space of the newly developed Spire Residences. Both Srithongzai, who’s heading up the kitchen, and bar manager Clint Bonner have made the move north to help oversee the new venture.
The fit-out, designed and executed by local shopfitters Unita, is sleek and modern, featuring wood-panelling, dark walls and floating ribboned curtains. The dimmed lighting, huge circular private booths and deep-red leather seating give off an air of luxury and intimacy.
For those familiar with Spice Den, you’ll recognise the upscale banquet-style dishes, from small plates through to more substantial protein, curries and noodles. The menu, both Thai-leaning food and drinks, is exactly the same.
“We’ll probably have to adapt at some point because Brisbane isn’t quite Casuarina,” says restaurant manager Jamie Mogg. “But [right now] we’re on to a good thing.”
Popular dishes include a Thai interpretation of sashimi white fish, crispy slow-cooked pork belly and sticky beef ribs. Srithongzai cooks all his meat sous-vide before throwing it in the wok, “so it's very, very tender and full of flavour,” Mogg says.
Everything is gluten-free except for the occasional specified dish. There are vegetarian and vegan options, as well as the option to tailor any other dishes to specific needs.
“Because everything is made from scratch, we can easily cater dishes to suit people’s requirements,” Mogg says.
The bar offers a sizeable wine and cocktail list, rounded out with a “Milk Bar” offering non-alcoholic alternatives. Mogg envisions a greater focus on after-work drinks in the future.
Spice Den Brisbane
Spire Residences, 550 Queen Street, Brisbane City
Mon to Sat 12pm–late