Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spice Temple

To be honest I didn't think we'd ever go to this restaurant if wasn't for a friend's birthday. I mean of course we're intrigued to try out Neil Perry's latest creation but since it was just Chinese (albeit upmarket) it kinda threw me off a little bit. I grew up with Asian food so I think it's justified if I'm hesitant to dine in supposedly fine Chinese? My dad will laugh his head off if he knew ;p

But anyway let's see what we had that night and I'll let you decide if it's worth it or not :)

The atmosphere of the restaurant was dark and it managed to put me in a relaxed mood (or maybe it was just me getting on with some cocktails whilst waiting). The names of their cocktails are so cute - using the Asian horoscope - and made it hard for me to decide since I didn't like the ingredients in my horoscope...

Anyway we didn't wait too long until everyone arrived, for the starters we had a combo of good ol picked radish and cucumbers with "smashed garlic". Reminded Moco a lot of what he'd normally have with congee.

Next up was an interesting mixture of eggplant with pork, corriander and even more garlic. Great for the breath. The presentation was nice as we needed to mix it up to finish off the dish.

Spicy deep fried chicken wings was the next dish, they were garnished with some yummy chillies which became a challenge for the boys on our table to see who could eat the most. I think the repercussions from that wouldn't felt until the next morning.

Ahh salt and pepper squid, well the Neil Perry version calls for "five spices" instead of the traditional two. These were an interesting take on an "Aussie" favourite. Although after a while the spices tasted a bit too dry, more like they were sprinkled on rather than used in the cooking process.

It was caution all around when the chicken hot pot came out. I think this had some sort of alcohol in it and it certainly had a nice punch. Probably one of the better dishes of the night. Moco enjoyed the garlic that was nicely cooked in this one:

Hrmmm, Sweet and Sour Pork? Not what you'd usually expect to see in a "nice" restaurant but hey whatever works. To be honest it was one of the better takes on it I've had in the past, I could definately taste some Sichuan pepper in there, I think that made the difference.

Mention Wagyu and everyone seems to get gitty. This very tasty brisket served with eggplant and a touch of chilli was certainly a highlight of the evening. As you would expect the brisket just falls apart at the slightest touch.

What Chinese meal wouldn't be complete with some Asian Greens, in this case it was Brocollini standing in for Gai Lan.

Look how amazing my friend's birthday cake - and she made it herself too!! Double applause please.

To finish off the banquet we had some watermelon granita that did a good job of refreshing us for the evening.

At the end of the night we were quite surprised to get charged a massive drinks bill - we didn't think we drank that much at all! Later I read in one of the restaurant's reviews, it's quite common that they charge incorrect amounts for alcohol. Part human error and part the really dark room Either way if you're planning to go there, make sure you keep track of your alcohol intake! x

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