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Spice Temple

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4
  • Recommended
  1. A chicken dish at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Supplied/Spice Temple
  2. The dining room at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Supplied/Spice Temple
  3. Mud crab at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Supplied/Spice Temple
  4. The main dining room at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Supplied/Spice Temple
  5. Mud crabs at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Supplied
  6. Stir fried quail at Spice Temple
    Photograph: Daniel Boud

Time Out says

This subterranean Chinese institution has just turned 15 – and is still very much on fire after all these years

It’s human nature to be attracted to the shiny hot new thing, and in the world of food and drink (the best world to traverse in, in our humble opinion), that means we’re drawn to new restaurant openings like tweens to Jacob Elordi (actually, most people to Jacob Elordi, hello Saltburn). (You can check out the best new places to visit in Sydney here.)

But there’s something to be said about the Sydney restaurants that stay open throughout the years, riding the hospitality wave and managing to stay fresh and current while being consistent and reliable. One of these restaurants is Spice Temple, the fiery subterranean Chinese spot that swung open its heavy black doors in the CBD in 2009 and never looked back.

A venue is nothing without its team, and executive chef Andy Evans has been on Spice Temple's pans since day one, which explains why the quality has never wavered. The floor staff are warm and friendly, yet professional and experienced. Dinner here runs like a well-oiled machine. A delicious, well-oiled machine at that.

Speaking of delicious, Spice Temple is renowned for putting a spotlight on China’s regional cuisines, from Sichuan to Yunnan, Hunan and Guangxi (fans of Chinese cuisine will notice there are no dishes from the Canton region). Super hot dishes are red on the menu – so spice wusses, tread lightly.

Must orders are the raw yellowfin tuna, which arrives with a spicy orange oil and lettuce; the white-cut poached chicken with sesame, peanuts and chilli; prawn wontons with black vinegar and chilli; and a lamb and cumin pancake with golden and crisp pastry. Seafood lovers can opt to order live mud crab, lobster or pipis. Stir-fried Wagyu brisket with baby eggplant and chilli paste is another hit, as is the Kung Pao chicken with Sichuan peppercorns, chillies and cashews. Opt to finish on a cool, sweet note with lychee granita, raspberry puree and candied almonds; or the chocolate and caramelised peanut parfait.

Cocktails at Spice Temple incorporate aromatic herbs, fragrant spices and local produce, and are named after Zodiac animals. You could order the floral and fruit ‘Rabbit’ with vodka, lavender and rosemary tincture, elderflower liqueur, and ruby grapefruit. Or, go for the refreshing and effervescent ‘Pig’, with lychee, pisco, vermouth, rose bud tea and prosecco.

Spice Temple’s dining room is dark, moody and tinged with nostalgia. Pantha-black furniture and leather banquettes contrast with pops of Chinese-red patterned carpet, and elongated lights drip from the ceiling. Early 2000s hits play during the evening I am there and the vibe reminds me of a Kylie Minogue film clip (in a very good way). And while the space undeniably feels retro-ish, it doesn’t look dated, but still sleek and polished.

So yes, do continue to get out and about and try all the exciting openings in Sydney. But I do urge you to revisit the old favourites. The restaurants that perhaps may not be in the spotlight right now, but the ones that have all the character, flavour and execution to steal the whole damn show. Just like Spice Temple.


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Avril Treasure
Written by
Avril Treasure


10 Bligh Street
Opening hours:
Mon 6-9pm; Tue-Thu noon-3pm, 6-9pm; Fri noon-3pm; 6-10pm; Sat- 5.30-10pm
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