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Spice Temple Spicing It Up

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Spice Temple is an iconic fine dining restaurant in the Crown Complex in Melbourne that serves sophisticated cuisine that expresses spice nuances of the highest order.

Spice Temple teaches us that spice is not just about heat but balance and subtleties of flavour. It challenges notions of Cantonese sme old same old dishes and breaks out with imaginative dishes that salute regional China.

Neil Perry is the mastermind behind Spice Temple and he knows how to celebrate a cuisine and bring standout flair, as well as deliver a fine dining experience. While we celebrate Chinatown, this is no Chinatown. It's about finery.

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Spice Temple boasts a top notch fit out with excellent use of timber slats, modern decor, window overlooking the Yarra and boulevard, and even incense aromas.

The ambience was of a silky restaurant. I would describe Spice Temple as spicy and silky.

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The World Loves Melbourne visited on a weeknight as soon as the doors opened at 6pm. Greeted by several wait staff upon entry I was escorted by an upbeat wait staff member to my table. From the "get go" the service here is brilliant. Greeted upon arrival - tick. Escorted to table - tick. Explanations and drink order soon after arriving - tick. 

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Spice Temple has an extensive win elist but I had a penchant for beer this particular evening. I consider spicy cuisine and beer to complement each other well. 

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Spice Temple has developed several famous dishes that thrill. The King Prawn wontons with aged black vinegar dressing make an immediate impression in terms of presentation and your first foray into the spicy sauce that imbibes this dish. The wontons themselves are beautiful and the style and filling first class. Thin and elegant wontons. The dish was generous - although I was eating a shared dish by myself (I'm no stranger to that).

The combination of flavours and balance was impressive. Dancing on the tongue this dish was to be savoured. I felt a compulson to consume the spicy sauce almost as a soup. Apparently I'm not the first to do so. Soon my lips were burning but I wasn't deterred. Sizhuan peppers and chilli bringing the heat.

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The casing on the wontons was also perfect, not too thick.

Spice Temple is also famous for its numbing dishes. After the numbing bliss of the Prawn wontons I wondered at my ability to imbibe the Hot and numbing crispy duck. 

My decision, to order a half duck after a solid intital course of the wontons, meant this was to be an indulgent night.

I was also keen to try the Hot, sweet, sour and numbing pork with chilli, sugar, black vinegar and Sichuan peppercorn for another time.


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Spice Temple also delivered with the Chinese broccoli with house made oyster sauce as the perfect accompaniment to the duck.

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Says the website - 

"Spice Temple brings a new level of Asian dining to Melbourne. The culinary focus here is regional China with a distinct avoidance of standard Cantonese fare. There is chilli for the chilli lovers, or subtle flavours for those desiring a more mild experience. Spice abounds regardless. Elegant and sexy ~ the restaurant is suited exquisitely to the refined cocktail list, the modern vent on traditional Chinese dishes that is the menu, the friendly service and the perfect wine list of exactly 100 wines – each and every one suited to the food.
Spice Temple is a modern Chinese restaurant, driven by a philosophy that incorporates the traditional values of the best possible service with a deep respect for the highest quality produce as well as a commitment to being at the forefront of visionary restaurant design.
The solid foundation of respect for the history and authenticity of our dishes was further developed on travels through China. Our menu pays homage to and draws inspiration from the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang.
Seasoned with an unmistakable Chinese flavour these unique and truly special dishes are driven by a long fostered passion for Asian cuisine and will delight the senses with their contrasting tastes and textures. With the dusty aromas of dried spice and the intensity of chillies (dried, fresh, salted, pickled, brined and fermented), this food is cooked to excite, yet the balance and harmony is never lost.
This is the cornerstone of truly beautiful Asian cooking.
Our food is designed for the shared table."

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For a simple dessert I chose the White chocolate, blackcurrant and peanut candy bar.  I wanted to go for the Three milk cake with pomegranate and pistachios but just couldn't do it. I was satiated by rich and substantial spicy dishes and struggled to face a large dessert. The candy bar was perfect.

Spice Temple also have a banquet menu and cater for Chinese New Year. Highly recommended.

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