|The entrance to Spice Temple is right next to Rockpool Bar & Grill|
|The stairs leading to the bar and restaurant (they have seats both upstairs and downstairs)|
|Extremely dark, these globes lit the tables at the bar area|
We were led downstairs and seated at the bar. It was a bit confusing as we weren't given a choice to go to our table directly and as we'd never been there before, I thought for a moment that the dark area where we were led to was where our dinner was going to be!
|Dog and Green Tea Jasmine|
The Boy ordered a Jasmine and Apple tea (which was pretty close to a Bubbly Cup version of Green Apple Green Tea).
Apparently, the waitress who had escorted us down the steps had failed to impart some information. We were then led to another part of the establishment (where quite a few people were already seated, whom I did not see lounging in the bar looking throughly confused).
|Monkey and House Made Spicy Ginger Beer|
From their menu (slightly different from the Sydney menu), we ordered an entree, two mains, rice and several desserts. Anything that had a red coloured font in the menu was extra spicy. There were two choices of Banquets (set dinner courses) priced at $69 and $95 respectively. The Boy was keen to go with those, but as a few dishes in the two Banquets had beef in them, I declined.
I also noted, from the menu, that some dishes had to be pre-ordered when making a reservation as they take 24 hours to cook them. Damn! Wish I had known.
|Fried Squid with whole five spice and dark chilli paste $26|
|Stir Fried prawns with salted duck egg and four chillies (Brined, dried, fermented and pickled) $39|
So far, the first two dishes were excellent and I was expecting the third dish to arrive and leave my palate with a huge and resounding bang!
|Guangxi style roast pork belly (with coriander, peanuts, red onion and sesame seeds) $30|
The pork belly meat wasn't as tender as I'd expected... it was a bit tough. The crackling however was a WINNER!... But the crackling wasn't good enough to save this dish from a disappointing end of our savory dishes.
|Trio of desserts|
|Orange jelly cake with orange blossom fairy floss $6|
The orange blossom fairy floss was really fun to eat and had a nice non-overpowering scent to it. The Orange Jelly Cake was just a regular cupcake with a jelly middle. Nothing much to shout about.
|Almond jelly with rose granita and dehydrated candied lychee $14|
|Chocolate and Salted Peanut Caramel Parfait $18|
I had spend the whole day thinking about Phillipa Sibley's Snickers and how much I wanted to eat it again. This dessert provided me that opportunity.
In terms of looks, it looks quite like an ice-cream sandwich. But the taste! The taste was sooooo alike the Snickers from il Fornaio that if I had my eyes shut, I'd swear I was eating the same dessert!
Okay, I might have exaggerated there. What this dessert had going for it was a really nice crunchy base (which Phillipa's did not). The texture and creaminess of the parfait wasn't as good as Phillipa's but the crunchy salted peanut caramel was just as good.
This dessert and this dessert alone, saved the night from the lackluster pork belly dish.
The meal was expensive. But we were expecting that. I draw similarities from this and Nobu (kind of hard not to, since they are both Asian inspired restaurants, located side-by-side in Crown Casino). The similarities are in its concept and lay-out. They both offer good food and almost perfect desserts.
Spice Temple has quite a while to go, to work out the kinks, but it has definitely made a worthy foray into the Chinese cuisine.
Would we return? Yes. But it'll have to be a while. It put quite a dent to my wallet.
*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality
Food/ Cuisine: Chinese
Dining Style: Restaurant & Bar
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 7.75/10 (I'd give the desserts a 8.5/10)
Restaurant ambiance: 7/10 (the Boy gives it an 8/10 because he say's it's funky. I think its much too dark. He said it reminded him of a Chinese junk ship, in a cool way.)
Service/ Attitude: 7/10
Value for money: 6.5/10
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006
Spice Temple is open from
Sunday to Friday for lunch and
7 days for dinner
How to get there:
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