If you enjoy the fine food of upmarket CBD Chinese restaurant Spice Temple, but the prices make it a “sometimes” option, you’ll dig its new, accessible all-day bar menu.
A bowl of the chow mein with thick pork relish will set you back $34 in the moody, slick main dining room, but take a seat at the bar and it’s only $15. This dish is a highlight: the bottom layer of noodles soak up the relish creating a soft, nourishing base, while the surface remains crunchy and crisp.
You can also grab the $15 “belt noodles” with pork and fermented chilli, which Spice Temple says is the spiciest dish at the restaurant. The thick noodles are cooked in a sauce of pork, ginger, garlic and chilli. (The pork is supplied by Otway Pork – a premium Australian Certified Outdoor Bred supplier in Victoria). There's also suo mian noodles with chicken and green chilli for $15.
If you’re just after a snack, consider the smaller dishes. The super-crisp spice fried chicken wings are $34 in the dining room, but $18 at the bar. All the dumplings are $4, including roast duck, crystal vegetable, and a har gao steamed prawn number.
Spice Temple restaurant is led by chefs Neil Perry and Andy Evans, who first worked together at Rockpool. The menu draws inspiration from the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Xingjiang.
The bar menu is available Monday to Friday from midday to 10pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 5pm to 10pm.