Mar 29 2011

Restaurant: The Spice Temple


You might disagree with the claim that The Spice Temple is Sydney’s coolest restaurant,, but I think there is no dispute that it is the restaurant with the coolest door.

The Spice Temple , in the heart of the financial district of Sydney’s CPD, is down in the basement of its more famous sister, Neil Perry’s Rockpool. To get down into the opium den, you pass through exotic fluttering multi-coloured curtains – which on second look turn out to be an illusion -they are a video playing on the giant screen that doubles as the door.

We’re not on Alstonville now, Toto. The Spice Temple is not your average suburban Chinese. The dishes are sourced from provincial China, with an emphasis on the chilli. The waiters are very knowledgable about the menu and the wines, and it is certainly worth seeking their advice.

Alex and I were lucky to get the last table, tonight, so it would be best to book ahead. Many of the clients were finance types after work, although the table next to us looked like a meeting of two gangs from Underbelly making a million dollar deal.

Despite the opulence of the decor, the prices were quite reasonable, with mains starting at $30. We started with Lamb and Fennel Dumplings (yum) and then shared two of the signatures dishes, which were superb.

Three Shot Chicken is finished at the table in a clay pot over a burner, where the waiter makes a broth by adding Tsing Tao beer, chilli oil and soy sauce to chicken and mushrooms.

We also had ‘Hot, Sweet, Sour and Numbing Pork’, which was cooked with chilli, black vinegar, sugar – and Szechuan peppercorns to give some extra bite.

The servings were large, and we had trouble walking back up the stairs. Thanks Michelle for the tip, but I’m surprised you didn’t mention the door.

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