What do you get when you mix laksa, fiery chillies, spicy curries with the timeless numbers of R & B legends such Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan?
Hot food cool jazz has been, and is still firmly the mantra of Cockle Bay stalwart Chinta Ria Temple of Love.
“It’s about fresh Malaysian cooking with a pleasant ambience” says owner Simon Goh. Chinta Ria is a casual eating house where the food is an interesting mix of Malaysian classics such as nasi lemak, laksa, beef rendang, satays, assam prawns and dishes with a slight twist from the traditional.
In the true spirit of communal dining as practiced by many Asian cultures, many dishes on the menu are designed to be shared among diners where steamed rice plays the perfect complement to dishes that come with marinated meats, fresh vegetables, stir-fries, braised sauces and spicy curries.
Parker’s gems are chicken mince with glass noodles squares deep-fried to a golden crisp outside while tender and juicy inside.
Toby’s Pepper Bird are suculent pieces of chicken fillets marinated with lemongrass and spices. Each piece of chicken is deep-fried to golden brown and fragrant with lemongrass aromas.
We tuck into Mingus scallops which are tender scallops snap-fried with butter, a sprinkle of curry powder, chillies, shallots, curry leaves and asparagus.
King Toh Beef is one of the most popular dishes on the menu where strips of tender beef are stir-fried with shallots, onions, carrots and the chef’s blend of special sauce.
FKT aka Fried Kway Teow is arguably one of the best interpretations of this Malaysian classic in Sydney where rice noodles, slices of fish cakes, crunchy fresh beansprouts, egg and prawn cutlets are spicy with smoky flavours from the fiery woks of the Temple’s kitchens.
Sambal prawns is another dish where the spicy sour sauce is calling out for steamed rice while huge succulent prawn cutlets are fresh and tangy.
Blakey’s Beef are tender cubes of beef fillets seared with a savoury black sauce with chillies.
Each morsel of beef is so tender it literally melts in your mouth while the savoury spicy sauce is another great accompaniment with steam rice.
Chinta Ria’s very own Lucky Beer comes in a green bottle with a smiling Buddha. Its wine list covers most varietals and an assortment of icy cold beers cool you down from the spicy curries and chilli hits.
It is Saturday afternoon and by 1.00pm, the Temple is rocking with diners tucking into their lunch.
The Kon Loh Mee Hoon or Hokkien Noodles is blanched with a sweet soya sauce. It is versatile and can come with either a choice of curry chicken, beef rendang, soy sauce chicken or roast duck.
The names of certain dishes at Chinta Ria Temple of Love take on the inspiration of jazz legends.
Parker’s Gems is a take on legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker while Satchmo’s Squid, a delectable dish of squid rings in a tangy spicy tamarine sauce, draws its name from legendary Louis Armstrong‘s nickname.
Service staff at the Temple is eagle-eyed where they may detect your quest for another beer with a cursory glance or a quick replacement set of chopsticks if one finds the floor.
Through the years, patrons both young and senior are intrigued by the huge smiling buddha which takes centre stage at the dining room of Chinta Ria. A gentle rub on the buddha’s belly is thought to bring good fortune and lighting a couple of joss sticks is a simple act of homage and respect to perpetuate well-being.
We manage to catch a happy couple, John and Therese, celebrating their 40th wedding annivesary with their children and grandchildren at Chinta Ria Temple of Love.
The service staff at the Temple is efficient and on the ball. Attitude is casual but sharp, friendly but knowledgable.
The temple takes on a different facade as night falls. Joss sticks and candles are lit around the giant buddha. There is a warm glow within the Temple.
Tonight is the first Tuesday of the month and this is when hot food cool jazz takes its place at the Temple.
Slide McBride and his band at The Temple of Love
Slide McBride‘s music is infectious because the talent of his musicianship is every bit as impressive as his charming personality on stage. He is on lead vocals, cornet and trombone while Charlie Meadows plays guitar and Karl Dunnicliff is on double bass. The band’s repertoire is classic Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Chet Baker and Dean Martin.
Listen to Slide McBride’s rendition of Diamonds are a girl’s best friend below:
The band generally plays at Chinta Ria Temple of Love on the first Tuesday of each month between 7pm – 10pm.
The band is also available for weddings and private functions by appointment.
From my years of frequenting this iconic Sydney restaurant, getting there early might mean a great table at the al fresco dining area outside as there is a “no bookings” policy for dinner. On the other hand, dining inside the Temple is also a tempting proposition with its cosy but modern surrounds.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite Malaysian dish that you would like to share with us?
ChopinandMysaucepan dined as guests of Chinta Ria Temple of Love
Related ChopinandMysaucepan posts:
- Interview: Simon Goh, Sydney’s restaurateur extraordinaire
- Chinta Ria … Mood for Love, Westfield Sydney
- Sassy’s Red, Westfield Sydney
- Coast, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
Chinta Ria Temple of Love
Roof Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf
201 Sussex street, Sydney, 2000
Tel: +612 92643211
Lunch: 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 11.00pm
except Sunday 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Reservations: Lunch Only
Fully licenced – BYO wine only (Corkage charge $10 oer bottle. (Limit for groups - 12 bottles for 20 people)
Arrive at Chinta Ria Temple of Love by ferry – See ferry timetable here.
Buy the book Hot Food Cool Jazz - a collection of recipes from Asian cuisines – snacks, curries, sweets, breads and noodles with each recipe is a suggestion for the perfect jazz accompaniment. The audio CD features 12 jazz tracks to compliment the recipes.
Slide McBride Band
Contact Slide McBride on:
Tel: +612 9388 9771 or mobile 0415 104138