Spice Temple is part of Neil Perry’s stable and is located in Crown Casino. J and I had dined here previously as part of a function and always said we would like to go back.
After enjoying superb dim sum in Hong Kong we were keen to find quality dumplings in Melbourne and thought Spice Temple might fit the bill.
We were joined by good friends DT and TD for a Saturday afternoon yum cha (as it’s called in Australia) experience.
When confirming the booking earlier in the week I had requested to be upstairs as I knew how dark the downstairs area is. The upstairs area does have some natural light but is still on the dark side.
I always seem to like Asian place settings.
We started with a bottle of Billie Cart champagne.
We also ordered Jasmine tea, and the pot was kept filled with hot water during the course of the afternoon.
The yum cha menu is quite extensive and divided into five sections (not including desserts and the tea selection): salads and cold cuts, steamed, sliders, baked and fried, large plates.
Everyone was feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of choices, but we soon sorted ourselves out and placed our first order.
Yes, our first order. We decided to order six dishes and then see how we were travelling and place a second order if required.
Lots of the dishes came in either serves of two or three pieces and our waitress was more than happy to tell us how many pieces per serve and also give advice on dishes when we asked.
First out was the pork and prawn shumai.
These were a serve of three, which worked out for us as I didn’t want one. So while I didn’t try these, they were obviously good, as two more serves were ordered!
There was also a serve of Har Gow steamed prawn dumplings.
Another serve of three which again was fine. J liked these but found them not as good as similar dumplings in Hong Kong, but he has said he would order then again.
While the others enjoyed their seafood delights I had the Northern Chinese lamb dumplings.
I really liked these. Good skin and generous tasty filling.
The Slider’s menu had three sliders (mini burgers) on it, crispy guangxi pork, cumin lamb and white cut chicken with salted chilli and pickles. It was $9 for one, so expensive but we had to give them a try.
J had the lamb, which he enjoyed.
Myself, DT and DT had the pork.
None of us went much on these. There wasn’t a lot of pork in them and I found coriander to be the most dominant flavour.
The BBQ pork buns came as serves of two, so two baskets were ordered.
Really great pork buns. I prefer these to the ones with the doughy casing and the filling had chunky pieces of pork and a rich sauce.
I do like spring onion pancakes so had to order this item.
Unfortunately this was not a good rendition. Too oily, too crispy and there was an odd almost fishy flavour to it.
That completes round one.
More food was defnitely required and myself and TD were left in charge of the menu. We ordered two extra serves of the pork and prawn shumai and the following for round two.
Pan fried rice noodle with chilli paste.
I didn’t like the different textures between the crispy coating and the slippery noodle. I wouldn’t order these again.
There were three options for the steamed rice noodle rolls and we had the beef and coriander filling.
We found them hard to eat with chopsticks but the beef was flavoured nicely.
Next out were the braised lamb shoulder pot stickers.
These come out as two per serve but due the decent size of them the waitress advised only ordering one serve and sharing one piece between two. I really liked these, good flavour and a little different to the usual dumplings.
We also had Hunan style egg noodles with smoked bacon and chilli.
Another dish that was nice but not great. The others thought there was a lot of heat in this dish but I didn’t get much at all. I also didn’t notice the bacon.
Last, but definitely not least, for the savoury items was chive dumplings.
These came as three per serve so we we decided to be reckless and order two serves. This was a good thing as they were really really good, almost my favourite dish for the day. I found they had a lot of flavour and I always like the texture that fried dumplings have.
Time for dessert!
After lengthy discussions between us, and then with the waitress, we got our order in, though I think there was some last minutes change-of-minds, as there were quite a few tempting desserts on offer.
TD went with the mango pudding and condensed milk.
Both J and DR has the egg tart.
And I couldn’t go past the banana and peanut caramel crêpe after seeing it at the neighbouring table.
Everyone was happy with what they ordered.
Spice Temple isn’t a cheap every week Yum Cha option, but we enjoyed the good food, the wine, the service and the company. We would definitely go back.