Spice Temple Melbourne is Chef Neil Perry's Chinese restaurant at Crown Melbourne. Three sister restaurants of Rockpool group... Rosetta, Spice Temple and Rockpool Bar & Grill are right next to each other at the river front.
I had been to Rockpool and Rosetta previously, no doubt truly enjoyed the fine dining pamper with high-quality food and wine. It took a while to convince myself that maybe I should give it a go to try out Spice Temple. That is my dilemma of being a Chinese... brought up eating good provincial Chinese food in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. Will Spice Temple live up to the expectation of capturing the essence of dishes with heavy spices and chillies from the northern and western provinces of China? Let's try and be amazed. Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed.
Tea smoked duck breast with pickled cabbage and Chinese mustard
Thinly sliced pink duck breast is succulent with a light smoked fragrance. The pickled cabbage and mustard sauce added some nice contrasting flavours.
Pan-fried pork & garlic chive dumplings
The "skin" (wrapper) of this triangular dumpling is light and crispy while the filling is juicy with the right balance of fresh garlic chive. Delicious!
Pan-friend mackerel & ginger dumplings
It is delightful to have these pot-stickers filled with fish... not a common ingredient for this type of dumpling. Mackerel is an oily fish with the use of fresh ginger helps to balance the strong flavour. Soft skin, crispy bottom with moist fish filling is a perfect pot-sticker!
Spice fried chicken with heaven facing chilli
This is a chilli-loaded dish... certainly hot but not mouth-numbingly hot. The chicken meat is moist and tender under the crispy batter. Of course it is the batter that coated with the spices and hot chilli flavours. Very moreish!
Stir-fried lamb in cumin & chilli served with steamed guo bao
It is a traditional Chinese-Muslim dish. The lamb meat is a little bit on the fatty side but with great fragrance of cumin and hot chilli. Instead of serving the lamb with the pan-fried pockets (similar to pitta bread), the fluffy steamed guo bao actually matched nicely with the lamb... absorbed the spicy sauce and the fattiness of the meat.
Hong Kong egg custard tart
Flaky lard pastry filled with sweet egg custard... it is a nicely done.
Hong Kong waffles with milk ice-cream, strawberries & toasted coconut
Such a popular dessert ingredient at the moment... Hong Kong egg waffles. The presentation of the dessert is beautiful with the contemporary combination with ice-cream, fresh strawberries and toasted coconut.
Jasmine tea with silver needles
Keeping the tradition of drinking tea after the meal. There are some top grade hand-picked Chinese tea on the list.
JJ Prum 2014 vintage Riesling - Kabinett
The 100 wines on the list have been carefully selected to match with the spicy dishes. There is an extensive European white and red wines on the list. I personally enjoy drinking Riesling or Gewurztraminer from France or Germany with Chinese food.
My favourite dishes - Mackerel pot-stickers and Spice fried chicken.
Spice Temple is a modern Chinese restaurant serving good food of using high quality produce and refined cooking. The menu has a great variety of seafood, meat and vegetable dishes to choose as starters and large plates for sharing. Majority of the dishes are strictly traditional but some are contemporary additions such as those from the raw plates (cured tuna and Kingfish) and the desserts (Asian ingredients using French style techniques).
It is a high end fine dining restaurant with the funky decor, theatrical atmosphere, polished staff and high rated food. It was certainly an enjoyable meal. Surely I will go back to try other dishes when I am craving for spicy hot Chinese food. Hope you will enjoy the chilli feast too!
Crown Towers Melbourne, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 8679 1888