Spice Temple

Spice Temple
Crown Complex
Southbank VIC 3006
03 8679 1888
Open: Lunch  Sun – Fri  ¦  Dinner 7 days

The lovely iMac, gorgeous AT and I had just gone to Gold Class in Crown and decided we needed to have dinner before parting company.  Since the restaurants in the Crown complex seemed to be the only restaurants open on New Year’s Day – and because I’d had a dream about the spanner crab dish in the last few weeks – we decided that Spice Temple was the way to go.

The last time I came to this restaurant – almost all of the dishes we ordered were in red type on the menu – and therefore basically blew my head off because they were so spicy!! It didn’t help that I was with a bunch of Scottish people – who appear to really love hot food.  So this time – I put my foot down and said – nothing from the red type!!  Thankfully the girls were OK with that!  Phew!

Now before we move on – I have to apologise for the photo quality in this post.  Alas – I had forgotten my camera, so was forced to use the lovely iMac’s – however, she acknowledged that it’s an old camera – and as with all things that grow old – they tend to lose their ability to focus unaided!
Yes – even cameras.  So, some of the shots are blurry – I have just decided to err on the side of blurry photo versus no photo at all, and let your imaginations sharpen up the focus for you.

Pork belly buns

The pork belly buns were one of the specials for the day – and they were pretty good.  I have to admit, no match for Momofuku – but they were tasty.  A thick slice of slow roasted pork belly, with some great herb salad, all on a brioche bun!

Caramelised pork spare ribs

We knew we were tempting fate – but we did it anyway! Ordered two pork dishes back to back!  These ribs were so good – they were heavily laden with meat, and the sweet, sticky sauce ensured that each mouthful burst with meaty, caramel flavour.  But be warned – there is a lot of meat there, we actually couldn’t finish the dish – and we’re three girls who like their food!!  The only improvement we could see was that the pork could have been slow cooked first – so that it would fall off the bone.  You had to really gnaw at the ribs – so we looked, felt and sounded a bit neanderthal as we ate!  Grrr, grrr, grunt!! Thankfully, we were provided with some warm towelettes to wipe off all the sticky goodness!  Make sure you watch your waitress ‘reconstitute’ the towelettes – it’s amazing to see!!  They start out looking like asprin tablets – weird and amazing.

Stir fried Spanner crab, whole garlic, chilli and coriander

This is, hands down, my favourite dish from Spice Temple.  I think it’s because not many restaurants will serve you a whole plate of freshly picked and stir fried spanner crab – where you don’t have to wrestle with the shell and get it out yourself!  It’s gently stir fried, and has delicate flavours of coriander, spring onion, and roasted garlic. Just beautiful. I could have eaten this whole plate by myself!

Cabbage & radish pickles

iMac loves the pickles here – so we always get a serve.  They are beautifully sweet, piquant, and crunchy. They are especially good if you’re ordering dishes with a bit of heat – but they’re pretty nice just by themselves as well.

Three shot chicken – beer, chilli and soy

This chicken dish was fantastic – it had great flavours. It was presented at the table with the 3 shots on the side, and then taken away and heated through with the shots added.  A nice bit of theatre – and a great rich taste.  Delicious.

Steamed King Brown mushroom with garlic stems and chives

You know – we ordered the side dish of mushrooms because the waitress encouraged us to have some vegetables, saying that the main dishes are quite meat focused.  However, in retrospect, we didn’t really need to.  It may have been because we found these mushrooms quite weird – they didn’t actually taste like mushrooms.  They had a bitter flavour, were quite rare, and didn’t really have any flavour beyond the bitterness.  We definitely wouldn’t order this again.

Mango pudding with condensed milk chantilly

You know… iMac has an eidetic memory for desserts.  It’s quite amazing really.  She knew she was going to have this before we even walked in the door. Smooth and creamy, luscious and full of mango flavour – she happily devoured the lot.

Caramel chocolate and peanut parfait

Naturally, we couldn’t let iMac eat dessert on her own – that’s not being faithful to the sisterhood!

So, AT and I took one for the team and shared the caramel chocolate and peanut parfait.  The things we have to do!  I have to say though – it was pretty good.  The biscuit, which is not really a biscuit – but crushed nuts being held together by caramel – is pretty fine!!  The peanut parfait is gorgeous – and of course, chocolate is always great!   Pretty sublime!

Almond biscuits 

The complimentary almond biscuits came out at the end of the meal. If you love marzipan – you will probably like the biscuits.  Not for me though.

All in all – it was a delicious evening.  I had previously sworn to not go back to Spice Temple – because some of their food was just too spicy for me.  However, on our third visit – I have learned that even the delicate lilies amongst us can navigate the chilli strewn menu and find some dishes of real delicacy, as well as some flavourful, rich dishes that don’t have too much heat!  Now I’m keen to go back…

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