We were quite excited about the thought of Spice Temple’s new daily lunchtime Yum Cha menu, having dined there for dinner three times in Melbourne and twice in Sydney, so after a morning out and about in the city we decided to go check it out (check out our initial thoughts here and here).
After managing to score a table quite easily (at 12:30pm on a Sunday it was pretty quiet), we were quickly presented with the menus (there’s no trolleys here – it’s freshly cooked to order, just like Monday – Saturday lunch at David’s), and given some tips on how much food we should order to begin with (for 2 people, they recommended 8 dishes to start).
I thought that sounded about right (Ritsy has turned me into a yum-cha fiend of sorts) so we ordered, and within about 10 minutes our first dishes arrived. Note that as I write this post, referring back to the menu on the website and my receipt, I have found that there is a surcharge of sorts added to Sunday lunch service – surcharges on weekends and public holidays are illegal in Melbourne, but not if the menus are printed with the actual price for the day.
First up was a very small dish of “Cucumbers with smashed garlic and ginger” – probably about half a cucumber’s worth – for $5 ($1 more than on days other than Sunday). Luckily they were good, because the serving size was super stingy. About a minute later, my green tea arrived (“Jade Sword”, $5.50). This was also on the expensive side, considering there was only one teacup’s worth of tea in the cute little glass teapot.
The “Crispy Guangxi pork slider” was next ($9, $1 more than the weekday menu) – it was quite flavoursome, and it was hard to separate this dish from the “White cut chicken steamed bun with salted chilli and steamed pickles” ($8, $1 more than the weekday menu). I’d love to have an unlimited supply of both these buns and a 6-pack of Lager!
The “Crisp pork belly and smoked tofu salad” ($9, $2 more than the weekday menu) was probably the most disappointing dish of the day. The flavours were great, but it was hard to divide the 5mm thin and 1 inch square slice of the smoked tofu between the 5 or so slices of pork.
The “Eggplant braised with red peppers, tofu and mushrooms” ($9, a whopping $3 more than the weekday menu) was probably one of our favourite dishes of the day. The eggplant was beautifully cooked, almost caramelised, the peppers, tofu and mushrooms sandwiched between two slices of eggplant.
We were also in love with the King Prawn wontons with aged black vinegar dressing ($11, $2 more than the weekday menu) – 3 soft, intensely prawn flavoured treats that were swimming in the aforementioned black vinegar dressing and some blistered chillis.
Last up for the day was the Hunan style egg noodles with smoked bacon and chilli ($8, $2 more than the weekday menu) – we were lucky we ordered these as they managed to add some sustenance to our lunch – we probably got about 100g or so of the spicy, mee goreng-like noodles with little bacon pieces on top.
In summary, we both loved the food at Spice Temple’s yum cha – but were disappointed by the too-small serving sizes – even more so now that we realise we paid an extra $12 to dine on such a quiet Sunday. But then again, maybe that’s why it was quiet.