As part of a milestone celebration D's family took us all to Spice Temple. Most people would have heard about Neil Perry's Rockpool but it's sister restaurant, Spice Temple many don't know about and should try out. Spice Temple is Perry's take on Asian Sichuan food, headed up by Ben Pollard. Located in Crown Casino along with this other ventures in Melbourne, it is modern spicy Asian fusion with a fine dining touch in a dark mysterious ambient atmosphere.
As with most Chinese food, we ordered a range of dishes to share.
Stir fried prawns with salted duck eggs and four chillis. Beautiful creaminess laced with fragrant of the salted duck egg. This is one of the dishes highlighted in red so it's not for someone who can't take their spice. But if you can, it's a must try on the menu.
Fish fragrant eggplant was done with a modern twist. It was not served in a pot with mince meat but instead the pieces of eggplant were deep fried and infused with the fish sauce mixture. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It didn't look it, but there was a small kick to this one.
Stir fried mushrooms was a combination of brown mushrooms, shitaki , oyster mushrooms, enoki and white fungus. This is one of the none spicy dishes. The range and mushroom texture difference made it an interesting dish and a great way to balance out the spiciness in all the other dishes.
Hot and numbing duck is one of their signature dishes, It's a crispy skinned duck served with a fiery peppercorn themed sauce. As the name suggest, it does leave a tingly numbing feeling but delicious flavors that make it worth leaving your mouth numb.
Corn with smoked pork and chives. This is a simple sweet corn dish with the goodness of smoked pork oil as the key hero ingredient. The small pork pieces gave it that rich taste to balance out the sweetness in the corn and the chives added to the aroma. This was my favourite dish of the night, along with the prawn.
The string beans with pork belly is a colour dish that had a LOT of chillis thrown in, but we were advised it was merely to garnish and not to be eaten. This had large chunks of pork belly in a spicy state. Personally I found the pork belly to be too fatty, and not something that I could eat more than one piece.
We also got the hand made noodles with scallop and chilli paste. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it and should have, It is something I would recommend if you are going in a smaller crowd, for a larger crown it becomes hard to share and each person only ends up with like 1 strand of noodle and the noodle is good, so one strand isn't quite enough.
Overall 16.5/20. I was actually very surprised and very pleased with this visit. I have been to Spice Temple on various occasions over the years and this was the best visit by far. Most of the food made me want more and even though it was spicy, it was very appetizing and a great offering. I am looking forward to coming back more.