Spice Temple, Sydney

2 August 2010, 08:00

The door to Spice Temple (10 Bligh St, Sydney) is a shimmering curtain on a giant lcd screen, a hypnotising shade of deep blue that sways in the ‘wind’. It compels you to step forward and do a double take to check that it is indeed the entrance to the restaurant and not just a moving billboard. The ‘push to enter’ sign reassures me and I make my way down a spiraly staircase and into a darkened reception and bar area before being led into the darkest restaurant I have ever been in. Seriously dudes what is up with Sydney restaurants skimping on the lighting? Trying to save electricity? ‘Moody’ atmosphere?

We are celebrating the father unit’s birthday who has chosen the venue and has already written down some dishes to be tried. There was no sign of Matthew from Masterchef (check out his blog here) but the service was great and we start off with a round of drinks- a glass of riesling for me and the mothership asks if I’d share a carafe of the Zodiac Pig cocktail (fresh lychees with gin and sparkling wine, $28) why of course! I do love my cocktails and while the cocktail is a little heavy on the gin, the whole lychees proves to be a much welcome savior at the end of the meal from the burning. Oh gawd the burning. But I’ll get to that part later.

We start with the Tofu and preserved egg with soy chilli dressing ($18) which has such clean flavours that we are scraping the plate clean. I was a little disappointed with the size- only 3 cubes of tofu! It was tasty tofu though and so silky and smooth. I’m not a big fan on the pungent preserved egg so I shafted my slices to the father unit who could eat bowlfuls of the stuff.

Steamed eggplant with three flavours ($18). Our smiley waiter pauses to explain the three flavours on the plate are garlic, coriander and sweet pork atop a bed of shredded eggplant before tossing everything together. The resulting mixture is hearty and packed with bags of flavour (hurhur how I miss Masterchef)

Stir fried sea scallops with velvet noodles and chilli paste ($23). The scallops are fat specimens with a slight char to the exteriors but with juicy soft innards. The chili paste is pretty much non existent which is good for me cos I don’t play well with chilli. We are surprised when we discover the noodles are cut into nubbins instead of ribbons, almost like flattened gnocchi but they were light and tasty and the slivers of capsicum and scattering of shallots provided a welcome crunch.

Hunan style crisp pork belly with fresh and dried chillies and mushroom soy ($32). I heard the table next to us say HUMAN pork hahaha mmm tasty humans lols but you know what happens when you fry pork belly? It becomes MORE awesome! Glorious you could say! I heart pork belly with its layers of lean meat, fat, lean meat, more fat and crispy skin oh yes.

Steamed Blue eye fillet, Hunan style Salted red chilli and pickled green chilli ($34). Start with the green side first the waiter advises which is just as well because the red chilli is bordering on help me I can feel the beginnings of burning but the fish is delicate and cooked perfectly.

Hot, sweet, sour and numbing pork ($32). Having tried this dish previously and not finding it hot I shovelled in a huge piece of pork only to start spluttering and wheezing as tears started rolling down my face. The burning! It tasted like the fires of a thousand suns! Damn right it’s numbing because I couldn’t feel my face! It wasn’t this hot last time was it?! I ask the father unit as I frantically gulp down water and mouthfuls of rice to stop the burning oh gawd the burning. The family had been watching in amusement as I was slowly dying an agonising death until they too were conquered by the searing pain. Father unit shakes his head and replies not even 1/3 of this heat! And that is coming from the king of eats all things spicy who wouldn’t even take on a $5 wager hahaha a second bowl of rice was ordered to stop the burning and then the parking was about to expire so no time for desserts but I shall return again! But maybe not for the numbing pork. Anywhos happy birthday dad! Are you reading this at work?

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon



  1. How dark is there hey! I loved the food though and spotted Neil Perry himself too when I was there!

    Maria    Aug 2, 08:06 AM    #

  2. I’m working there today! Was doing a Dee Why food demo last friday :). It is rather dark isn’t it, it’s that whole sub-terrainean feel i think

    Matt Caldicott    Aug 2, 08:22 AM    #

  3. Oh you poor thing! I tried the numbing pork when I went up to Sydney earlier this year and I loved it! (I don’t remember it being super-hot).

    I loved Spice Temple, thought the service was great, and we spotted Neil Perry there too!

    I’m excited they’re opening one in Melbourne soon. :)

    xox Sarah

    Sarah    Aug 2, 09:09 AM    #

  4. Still numb

    — D    Aug 2, 09:15 AM    #

  5. ooooh I love the name of the restaurant – “Spice Temple” – how could you go wrong with that!! :)

    Lisa (bakebikeblog)    Aug 2, 09:15 AM    #

  6. ROFL human pork. How very silence of the lambs lol. Mmm gotta love bucket of chilli, i don’t remember the pork being super hot either, maybe they’ve upped the heat!

    Steph    Aug 2, 10:27 AM    #

  7. Ohh I can’t handle too much heat, the mild stuff already makes me hang my mouth to cool off. That tofu does look rather silky.

    angie    Aug 2, 10:32 AM    #

  8. lovely photos for such a dark room! everything looks so mysterious and classy. ;)

    bowb    Aug 2, 10:42 AM    #

  9. I agree the lighting there is almost non existent. No dessert? Oh boy, you missed out! When I went there I ordered this Milk Cake (cant remember the name).. it was divine!! Happy Birthday to your daddy :)

    Rhonda (thedaintybaker)    Aug 2, 10:47 AM    #

  10. Haha, never knew you were such a chilli weakling! And, yes, it is very ‘atmospheric’ indeed, and the serves are quite small?

    mademoiselle delicieuse    Aug 2, 12:57 PM    #

  11. Can I say that at first I thought the curtains in the first shot were a giant pair of silk pants? lol. And I really wanna try the hot and numbing pork. Give me a thousand suns!

    Helen (grabyourfork)    Aug 2, 01:34 PM    #

  12. Hehehe human pork and ‘nubbins’. Nub nub nub. But oh you poor thing. I’m in pain for you! LOL ‘fire of a thousand suns’… <3 that movie hehehe.

    Happy birthday Mr Thye! :)

    Karen | C&C    Aug 2, 01:45 PM    #

  13. Oh Suze, death by burning pork, oh no!! I do quite like the look of the noodle nubbins for a bit of a change.

    Sara @ Belly Rumbles    Aug 2, 03:49 PM    #

  14. Love the Chinese zodiac cocktails there . I found the servings sizes of the food to be quite small, smaller than I expected. We ended up having to order another dish and side for our group as we were all still hungry!

    Reemski    Aug 2, 04:16 PM    #

  15. Glad you were pickled at the time ;)

    Fiona    Aug 2, 07:51 PM    #

  16. Hee hee I am sure they intended you not being able to feel ur face as part of experience. I have been meaning to try this palce, shall have to go there soon!

    FFichiban    Aug 2, 11:16 PM    #

  17. Never know chinese fine dine can be that good !

    Obesebaby    Aug 3, 12:36 AM    #

  18. mmm, pork belly, mmmm. But the other one sounds like scary pork, scary pork! Happy birthday to your dad :)

    shaz    Aug 3, 01:40 AM    #

  19. Shame about the burning pork but what a cute exchange between you and your dad! Happy belated birthday to him!

    forager @ The Gourmet Forager    Aug 3, 11:12 AM    #

  20. Wow, good job at taking clear photos under such dim conditions! The food seems pricey and kinda small hey, but the numbing pork looks good though.

    Steph@LittlePotBelly    Aug 3, 11:33 AM    #

  21. $18 for three pieces of tofu. lol! I love hot and spicy food… will love to try the numbing pork :)

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain)    Aug 3, 02:46 PM    #

  22. wow, i agree those curtains are wild!

    thang @ noodlies    Aug 3, 10:49 PM    #

  23. I’m afraid most of this menu would be wasted on me, my chili tolerance is not great but it does look so good! Cheers to the Fathership!

    Moya    Aug 3, 10:53 PM    #

  24. fwah! all looks so good! but its a bit rich to charge $18 for 3 tiny pieces of tofu. is it made in house?

    Amy @ cookbookmaniac    Aug 4, 12:02 AM    #

  25. I’ve got a slighlty different take on Spice Temple on my blog today :)!

    Matthew Caldicott    Aug 4, 12:06 AM    #

  26. Oh boy, it all looks delicious. I want some tofu

    Laura (Starloz)    Aug 4, 11:27 AM    #

  27. I remember I sat outside once just so I can watch the curtain flying over and over again, it is so mesmerising!

    Hear hear with Helen, give me a thousand of suns and numb me baby! LOL

    billy@a table for two    Aug 4, 12:24 PM    #

  28. No wonder the burning. :)

    Michelle Chin    Aug 4, 04:12 PM    #

  29. The numbing pork sounds awesome. Automatically on my to-order list.

    Don’t know about some of the other items though. Seems rather exxy, especially the tofu one.

    Simon @ the heart of food    Aug 5, 06:32 PM    #

  30. I’m in Sydney at the moment and went to Spice Temple last night. I love your review, I think you hit the nail on the head. Good food, good service, but I needed a series of well positioned spotlights to find the way to my table

    Callum Hann    Aug 7, 07:23 PM    #

  31. WHAT? 3 cubes of tofu for $18?
    Forgive my shock..
    I think it’s the poor student within me speaking ><

    Lil    Aug 8, 08:27 PM    #

  32. So good down there, the cocktails are great… I hope you tried the fried chicken, if not go back cause you’re missing out. Best fried chicken i’ve ever had and it was a much larger plate than i expected.
    Only disappointment for me was that nothing we ate was as spicy as they made it sound. When I go for spicy food i expect to have tears in my eyes.

    SexyNinjaMonkey    Aug 17, 12:55 AM    #

  33. I also think the variation in heat of the dishes is an issue.
    I love spicy food (my wife not so much) and we ordered the Hunan pork and it was by far and away the hotest dish all day. Despite me ordering 2 red labelled dishes.
    I struggled and my wife at one bite, yet every other review talks about the nice flavour ??? our version was so hot it was difficult to taste anything but heat.

    — Davmic    Sep 22, 01:43 PM    #

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