Spice Temple, Sydney

Petit fours - Spice Temple

Petit fours - Spice Temple

Every so often, Sydney’s dining scene comes up with a restaurant that is a little different. Spice Temple is a move away from traditional Cantonese fine dining. Instead, its menu is inspired by flavours that is Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Xinjiang and Yunnan.

As I walk down the dimly lit spiral staircase of Spice Temple tonight with two women, I feel like I am being escorted into a mysterious dungeon rather than a holy temple.

While waiting for the three of us to arrive, my friend Simon is already toying with propaganda, a concoction of  apple, ginger, rye whisky and citrus.

Propaganda cocktail $18

Propaganda, $18

This place is oozing with nuances of exoticism. Think miniskirts, stilettos, leather pants and you’ll be at ease with the typical dress code tonight.

Menu, Spice Temple

Menu, Spice Temple

A sultry-looking woman in the form of a menu greets us at our table tonight. Notwithstanding a mole on her left cheek, other provocative features conjure images of a seductive temptress.

The lighting is so dim, we can hardly see each other let alone read the menu.
But her steely stare is enticing me to open her as I contemplate what I would be eating tonight.

Nevertheless, we are told by our waiter that dishes on the menu are meant to be shared among diners and best accompanied by steamed rice in the spirit of communal chinese dining.

Tingling prawns $24

Tingling prawns $24

Tingling prawns arrive with delicate shards of pickled cucumber, shallots, ginger and a generous sprinkling of Sichuan pepper. No sooner can I taste the fresh and succulent prawns do I start to feel the numbing sensation on my tongue from the spicy Sichuan pepper.

Tea smoked duck $29

Tea smoked duck $29

Tea smoked duck comes with an intoxicating, smoky aroma, drizzled with chinese mustard sauce and accompanied with pickled cabbage. I sink my teeth into each succulent piece of thinly-sliced duck meat  laced with a soft and delicate layer of smoky-flavoured fat. It is a sinfully tasty mouthful.

Chicken wings $24

Chicken wings $24

Chicken wings is deep fried and arrive with its fair share of red chilli. Each piece is crispy golden brown and slightly spicy on the outside, succulent and juicy on the inside.

Crispy quail $32

Crispy quail $32

A plate of crispy quail is gently salty with a sprinkling of sea salt and diced shallots. We dig into these delicious chunks of filigree with our hands and end up licking our fingers in yummy concurrence.

King mushroom $19

Steamed king abalone mushroom, garlic stems, chives and ginger $19

A plate of steamed king abalone mushrooms can almost pass as slices of prized abalone with its meaty texture.

Spice Temple, Sydney

Spice Temple, Sydney

The walls of Spice Temple are adorned with pictures of beautiful Asian ladies staring at us as we dine.

Hunan pork $32

Hunan style crisp pork belly with fresh and dried chillies $32

A plate of Hunan style crisp pork belly is accompanied by snake beans with a mixture of fresh and dried chillies. By this time, we are all feeling the heat sensation from the dishes we have ordered thus far. The pork belly is succulent and the crunchy beans a good textural contrast.

Sichuan fish $32

Fish drowned in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns $32

A fish drowned in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns is literally what the sultry temptress described. As this huge bowl settles on our table, all we see is a sea of fiery red chillies.

Sichuan fish $32

Fish drowned in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns $32

Our waiter unravels the chillies floating in the large bowl, we start to get a glimpse of some leather jackets (a type fish popular in Australia). We found this dish slightly lacking in flavour but definitely not lacking in spice.

Pixan beef $42

Stir fried beef fillet with Sichuan black bean and Pixian chilli paste $42

We find a stir-fried grass-fed beef fillet with Sichuan black bean and Pixian chilli paste to be overly salty and no less spicy although the beef and crunchy shallots are a good combination that illustrates the essence of chinese stir-fry cooking.

Chocolate parfait $18

Brown sugar, banana and white chocolate Swiss roll $48

We end our meal with some delightful desserts and a brown sugar, banana and white chocolate Swiss roll is subtly sweet and gentle with white chocolate flakes.

Tangelo granita $14

Tangelo granita $14

An icy cold tangelo granita is wonderful in cooling down spiced up taste buds.

Chocolate parfait $18

Peanut and caramelised chocolate parfait $18

The peanut and caramelised chocolate parfait is definitely the standout dessert with its crunchy nuts and rich chocolate.

Qing dynasty $18

Qing dynasty $18

The Qing dynasty is a concoction of espresso, tequilla, hazelnut and chilli.

Dining room, Spice Temple

Dining room, Spice Temple

The dining room at Spice Temple might as well have been our bedroom since it was so dimly lit. But sleeping was the last thing on my mind as another temptress looked me in the eye and urged me to come back again.

Petit fours - Spice Temple

Petit fours - Spice Temple

So dear readers, what do you think of Spice Temple?

Spice Temple
10 Bligh street
Sydney 2000

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon

Opening hours:
Lunch Mondays to Fridays
Dinner Mondays to Saturdays

Tel : +612 8078 1888

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23 Responses to Spice Temple, Sydney

  1. wow that parfait looks amazing!

  2. Melissa Loh says:

    All that chilli looks like it was a menu that really packed a knockout punch. I hope the restaurant had a lot of icy water at hand.

  3. heidi says:

    It looks and sounds like a sensual overload- and that is just the atmosphere!
    The food looks great- spicy but with good texture and flavor foils so that it all blends to make a memorable experience.
    Your photos are exceptional- dark lighting and all!

  4. Everything looks so good and your photos are simply excellent!

  5. Juliana says:

    Wow, the food look awesome, everything so tempting…and your pictures are great.
    Hope you have a fantastic week ahead :-)

  6. Carolyn Jung says:

    Tres stylish! But I must ask: Where are all the menu covers and artwork of mysterious, brooding, handsome men for the women diners to swoon over? LOL

  7. We really enjoyed our meal here too. I quite like the pictures of the girls, it gives it something different from your usual Chinese restaurant.

  8. OohLookBel says:

    I love your evocative descriptions of the dishes. They all sound so spicy, except the peanut parfait dessert – that just sounds (and looks) divine.

  9. Hmm the environment/atmosphere looks modern and nice, but compared to all the dishes you reviewed so far, this restaurant doesn’t have what I like (I’m becoming pickier after reading so many good reviews). Though it sounds like a great experience. I’m amazed how well you took the pictures despite the very dark setting. I’m more inspired by your photo skills than recipes today. 😉

    • Chopinand says:

      Some of the flavours and tastes are quite spicy and numbing to say the least and different from “traditional” Sichuan and I’m not sure if this restaurant is all about the food though.

  10. Manu says:

    This place is going into my “to try” list! The food sounds fantastic, especially the cocktail and the desserts… I would be tremendously undecided between the peanut and caramelised chocolate parfait and the Qing Dynasty! Yummmm :-) Thanks for yet another great suggestion for a special night out! :-)

  11. Diana says:

    All the dishes seems to suit the theme for this place decor. I would like to try the tingling prawn.

  12. I’ve heard great things about this place, and it was nice to see some of the actual dishes. They certainly seem to live up to their stella reputation!

  13. JasmyneTea says:

    I can’t help but feel that this place has a bit of a pretentious air (not that I’ve been there, this is just based on reviews); luckily, it looks like the food is worth the visit :)

  14. Hannah says:

    Dear Canberra,

    Please create a place like this, soon. I need peanut butter and chocolate desserts in my life. Please.



  15. Jen says:

    The food didn’t blow me away when I went but it looks like they have lots of different dishes there now.
    Call me a feminist, but I’m definitely not a fan of the whole dingy ‘gentlemen’s club’ vibe.

    • Chopinand says:

      The ambience is certainly different and it would be interesting to understand the owner’s take on the decor,

  16. Special K says:

    I am impressed with the level of your food pics! Seriously, gorgeous and it made me want to share with you. Those prawns could tickle me any evening.

    Was the food oily? I found Chinese food when I toured there swimming sometimes in oil. That was a big disappointment.

    • Chopinand says:

      The food wasn’t oily as this restaurant is a modern take on traditional Sichuan and other styles of chinese cooking. However, I have also been to some traditional Sichuan restaurants where I totally agree with you that some of the food is literally “swimming” in oil and I’m definitely not a fan of that either.

  17. I really want that Swiss roll for some reason, I think it looks like a dessert that I use to eat as a kid. Funny the memories that resurface from a picture of food.

  18. sophia says:

    I find that Cantonese cuisine can be a bit bland for my Korean tastes. Sichuan and all those spicier, bolder flavors are more up my alley. The only thing is that the spice is different from what I know…it’s more of a numbing spice. And sometimes I get a bit turned off by the oiliness of the dish. But still, everything looks so good and I’m drooling!

  19. Shanks says:

    The ambience and decor is different but somewhat eerie. I like the look of the chicken wings, and the desserts. :)

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