I’ve always thought that Spice Temple would be a great place to go if you are having an affair. Dark, moody, plenty of hidden corners, it would be the ideal place to meet an illicit lover. If, of course, you are that way inclined. If you aren’t, and you can manage to find the door, duck in for some of Mr Perry’s upmarket regional-but-modern Chinese.
The menu is partially colour coded (so if you’re colour blind you may need help) with the red dishes those that fall into the ‘super hot’ category. I’ve had a few of these on previous visits, and I find that the amount of chilli is sometimes so much that its difficult to decipher the actual underlying ingredients and they all mesh into dishes that taste essentially the same - i.e. hot. So this time we (being a royal we, as I ordered for us all) went for the ‘plain dishes’.
The steamed eggplant with pork, always a great start, flavour and texture. They also use these beautifullly patterned bowls. Our other pork dish, the Guanxi roast pork belly with coriander and peanuts was unremarkable.
I generally find chicken rather dull – but bring in quail, duck and other birds and I’m in. The crisp fried quail marinated in fermented red bean curd and five spice was indeed beautifully crisp and flavoursome.
Shredded duck, dried chestnuts and black fungi with Pixian chilli paste and fried tofu. I haven’t had this before and I loved it, great textures going on and great flavour.
On the other hand tea smoked duck with mandarin pancakes was a little disappointing, and nothing special.
Whole steamed snapper with black bean and salted chilli was not a red highlighted dish but had plenty of heat, and the accompanying steamed Chinese broccoli with house made oyster sauce was a winner.
For five of us, and we were comfortably full, the food came in at just shy of $60 a head. They have banquets that start at $75 which have a couple more courses than what we ordered and include desert. There’s also a hidden private room. Service was a little absent minded rather than poor, with them slow to take drink and wine orders and the wine arriving after our food.
A girlfriend of mine recently went and said overall she prefers Longrain – I think I have to agree. Unless of course you’re meeting someone you shouldn’t be :)
Spice Temple, 10 Bligh St Sydney, Ph (02) 8078 1888