10 Bligh Street
+61 2 8078 1888
Opened in January 2009, Spice Temple is celebrated chef Neil Perry’s new modern Chinese restaurant. It sits in the basement of a former bank – the heavy vault door is a giveaway – while the floor above is occupied by Perry’s new Rockpool Bar & Grill.
Reminiscent of a Chinese boudoir, the main dining room is filled with dark wood contrasted by carpeting and upholstery in matching scarlet; jazz music and a spicy scent permeate the air. Powerful lighting at each table heightens the sense of drama in the otherwise dimly lit restaurant.
The menus are as dramatic. Instead of the usual Asian fare found in Sydney, Perry has made a deliberate foray into the spice-heavy provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang.
“I wanted to do a regional Chinese restaurant,” says Perry, “and for it to be very authentic, but not Cantonese. These provinces with their liberal use of chillies and spices provided just that.”
Menus reflect the restaurant’s specialities, with the hottest dishes highlighted in red. First-timers to Spice Temple would do well to order the Banquet Menu at A$69 per person for 10 courses. Appetisers include cabbage and radish pickle in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette, and cucumber with smashed garlic and shredded ginger. Colourfully presented tofu and preserved egg is simple but tasty. Wagyu brisket stir-fried with baby eggplant and chilli is full of robust flavours.
Of the hotter dishes, shredded lamb shoulder with salted chilli in oil is a fiery treat; so is the “three shot chicken” breast braised in Tsingtao beer, chillies and soya sauce. The fieriest dish on the menu is the poetically named “Fish drowned in heaven facing chillies and Sichuan peppercorns”. Fillets of leatherjacket are served in a lethal broth – we were later advised that the chillies and peppercorns were meant for flavouring and not for eating! A sharp and tart blood-orange granita offers a cooling end to an unforgettable meal.
The drinks list has 100 wines (it recently received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator) to ensure that every dish is matched, a thoughtful Chinese tea selection and creative cocktails named after signs of the Chinese zodiac.
- EVENTS CALENDAR
- Upcoming events, parties, promotions and sales
- READ THE MAGAZINE NOW
- Get Expat Living on your PC, tablet or smartphone
- Baby announcements, items for sale and community news
- JOB LISTINGS
- Local jobs now hiring
- A comprehensive guide to Singapore companies, services and facilities
- Click here for your chance to win great prizes
- A quirky take on expat life