Neil Perry’s Melbourne stable has grown further. There’s Rockpool Bar and Grill, The Waiting Room opened recently and last night saw Spice Temple open to the public.

Perry with business partners Trish Richards and David Doyle have created a space, where Bistro Guillaume used to be in Crown, that is dark - and we mean dark - with rich toffee-hued lighting, comfortable seats, dark wood tables that hold crockery in varying shades of black next to contrasting hanging beads that act as partitions throughout the large space.

The menu allows the diner to explore Perry’s interpretation of Chinese cuisine as much or as little as desired (it’s all about share plates). The Chinese regions of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan,Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang inspire Spice Temple’s menu and it has heat, spice, sour, salt, aromatic and perfumed aspects to the flavours and textures that is evident in more than just the food; the drinks are a vital part of this operation.

The wine list is structured tightly, only 100 wines at any one time and the cocktails - there’s one named after each Chinese Horoscope sign - are constructed through the intelligent brief to create combinations that simply do what tea does when it’s eaten with spicy food, calm the palate and give it clarity for the next punch of spice. It’s a cocktail list worth exploring.

Neil Perry is a household name you don’t take for granted and Spice Temple reminds you why - it’s a pleasure to have Mr Perry in Melbourne in another context.

Spice Temple
Crown, Shop 7, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
(03) 8679 1888

Lunch and dinner, seven days