Home > Asian, Chinese, Guest Blogger, Sydney > Spice Temple, Sydney

Spice Temple, Sydney

I have asked a dear foodie friend, MG to be a guest blogger. He loves and appreciate food as much as I do, maybe even more. He has a way with describing food and words. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a foodblog, however, when I suggested he become a guest blogger, he was thrilled and happy to write once in a while. We have had some wonderful meals together, especially in Hong Kong and without a doubt, I can always count on MG to come and dine with me.

I have been to Spice Temple a couple of times, pre-blog days and personally, I wasn’t blown away. So when MG told me he was going to Spice Temple,I asked if he could do a review and this is what he has to say…

Spice Temple is Neil Perry’s latest iteration of a Modern Chinese restaurant, following the respective closures of Wockpool, XO (Potts Point) and XO (Surry Hills).

Although some clear similarities could be drawn between these three previous restaurants, it is obvious that Neil Perry has completely overhauled his approach to this genre of his food empire. Anyone who had visited any of the aforementioned restaurants can appreciate Neil Perry’s recent efforts in incorporating a wider variety of Chinese cuisine into his menu, following his self-directed educational tour through provinces such as Hunan, Sichuan, Jiangxi and fur-flung Xinjiang.

In this dimly-lit and moody basement setting, Neil Perry proclaimed to create the “sexiest Chinese restaurant in town”. Accordingly, pictures of sultry young Asian women giving coquettish glances adorn the walls, menus, website and the back of his business cards.

The food:

Cucumbers with smashed garlic and ginger: Simple and refreshing enough, although at eight dollars a plate this probably carries a sizeable profit margin.

Tea smoked duck breast with pickled cabbage and Chinese mustard: One of the highlights of the meal.  This was a completely new dish that was unlike any Chinese dish previously encountered. Everyone present suspected that the duck had been steamed and smoked at some length. Served cold, it had a very concentrated flavour and was well accompanied by the mustard. Where do you even get Chinese mustard, anyway? After this experience, it would be ideal to have a supply kept at home.

Fish drowned in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns: Leatherjacket Sichuan style: This dish wasn’t nearly as threatening as some versions that may be found in other Sichuan restaurants. Despite the waiter providing us with plenty of warnings about the amount of chilli in the dish, none of the guests at the table seemed too challenged by it. The fish was perfectly cooked, but there were some murmurings about superior and more authentic versions of this classic being found elsewhere…

Three shot chicken: Beer, chilli and soy: As in other restaurants within the Rockpool empire, the Spice Temple waiters provided a small amount of theatre for the guests throughout the meal. A small stove was produced at the table in order to allow the waitress to heat up this chicken dish while stirring through a shot of soy sauce, beer and chilli oil. Presented in a modest-looking ceramic bowl, it was hearty and tasty, despite not having the chic minimalist presentation of some of the other dishes.

Stir fried Wagyu brisket with baby eggplant and chilli: A perfectly tasty stir-fry. However, at over forty dollars a serve, some diners may baulk at the portion size of this dish. Although it was generally well-received, most were in agreement that stir-fries with a much higher eggplant-to-beef ratio could easily be found elsewhere.

Sichuan influenced eight treasure boned whole duck: Pork, tofu, lap cheong, peanut, red date, chestnut, pickled mustard, greens, shallots: Ordered 24 hours in advance, there was some anticipation surrounding the arrival of this house specialty. That anticipation quickly changed to mild disappointment as we picked through the multitude of ingredients stuffed into the bird. We weren’t sure if our Western palates just weren’t cut out to appreciate red dates mixed with tofu and mustard. Whatever the reason, a sizeable chunk of this dish remained uneaten.

Tingling Prawns: A tasty and beautifully-presented dish that wasn’t as hot as the menu seemed to suggest.

All in all, Spice Temple is a fun dining experience that gives people a welcome (if expensive) opportunity to be exposed to a range of Chinese cuisine hither to unseen in most Sydney restaurants. We were keen to congratulate the owner himself, but sadly he was absorbed in a loud conversation with a celebrity musician.

MG’s rating: 7.5 / 10

I hope you enjoyed our guest blogger, MG, I most certainly did! I am hoping this won’t be his last time, so stay tuned for MG’s next review. Thanks again MG!

Spice Temple

10 Bligh Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 8078 1888

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon

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  1. March 21, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I like the idea of ‘guest reviewer’…as us bloggers get to have a mini-break from writing. I’ve heard alot about Spice Temple, but I’m always hestitant to spend a load of money on dinning out in case I’m disappointed. This place does seem a bit out of my price bracket. Oh well.

    • March 21, 2011 at 12:40 am

      hey mel, thats right on the break from writing! ya i dont think i will be going back to Spice Temple so thought, guest blogger! i do remember it being quite exy and wasnt blown away.

  2. March 21, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Great review from your friend! I like his style. 🙂

    Who was the celebrity musician I wonder?? 🙂

    And the tea-smoked duck entree is still on the menu two years later? Must be popular, as I wasn’t blown away by it when I had it so long ago.

    • March 21, 2011 at 1:02 am

      ya he has a way with words! i wasnt a fan of the tea-smoked duck entree either. but i know a lot of colleagues loved this place!

  3. March 21, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Great job MG on your first post, may be he’ll get the blogging bug now 🙂

    Have not tried Spice Temple yet and a lot of people have gave me mixed reviews, majority on the not impressed side. I guess this place will have to wait a while longer before I decide to give it a shot.

    • March 21, 2011 at 2:58 am

      LOL doubt he would start blogging but it wont be the last time he blogs on GA! 🙂

      ya i wasnt too impressed – i think there are other restaurants i would rather try first!

  4. March 21, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Great review and I enjoyed it as I got to see different items to what we ordered (which was granted ages ago that we visited). And isn’t it nice to get a break every now and then! 🙂

  5. March 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    your post reminds me that i should get there… so many places to go.. so little time!

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