Friday Night #1: Spice Temple

Friday Night is our new series where we report about the vibrant restaurant scene of Melbourne. As we have introduced you to spice house (Gewürzhaus) earlier we want to keep you spiced up, now with our article about the modern Chinese restaurant “Spice Temple”. It is owned by famous Australian TV cook Neil Perry who has two more restaurants in the Crown complex in Melbourne (besides other restaurants in Sydney), namely the flagship “Rockpool Bar and Grill” an the 2012 newcomer “Rosetta”.

Spice Temple 3We entered a dark stylish room with modern furniture, contemporary photographs by Earl Carter and elegant lanterns. The service is not only friendly but also very professional. We started with a wonderful 2008 Gembrook Hill Sparkling and not with cocktails, which are inspired and named after the Chinese zodiac. All meals are intended to be shared and are inspired by the cuisine of the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang. We could not decide what to take and therefore ordered the large Banquet Menu and were not disappointed at all.

Spice Temple 4As starters we received Gua bao with braised lamb and chilli paste (was like a little burger), delicious crispy fried quail marinated in fermented red bean curd and five spice. The spiciest starter were the incredible King prawn wontons with red black vinegar dressing. Also served with the starter selection were cabbage and radish pickle as well as cucumber with smashed garlic. Both dishes are perfect to refresh and “reset” your pallets between the other meals. A dry and fruity 2012 Riesling by Freycinet from Tasmania now accompanied our menu.

As mains we received “Glacier 51 Toothfish drowning in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns” and “steamed Alaskan king crab, Jiangxi style with pickled mustard greens and chilli”. The toothfish was smooth and gorgeous, also it was almost buried in chillies and Sichiuan pepper, which was removed in a elegant procedure by waiter, it was not too spicy. The king crab was also very good, we were only struggling to remove it from the shell “armed” only by chop sticks (but we succeeded).

Spice Temple 1The second set of main dishes was “stir fried corn with smoked pork and chives”, amazing “stir fried Wagyu brisket with baby eggplant and fresh chilli” and were succed by another highlight the “hot and numbing crispy duck“.

Not that we needed any more food after this mouthwatering food marathon, the finishing line consisted of a great “mango pudding with condensed milk Chantilly” We were deeply impressed and very satisfied.

Spice Temple Riverside, Crown Complex, Southbank

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