It's usually pretty quiet when we go for lunch especially if it's a hot day as people prefer the terraces of Number 8 and Bistro Guillaume or the open windows of Nobu. However it was a big surprise to see how busy it was. The private dining area was hosting a large group and pretty much every table had diners. I guess the smaller bites menu suits more people and budgets and has been successful in drawing in the crowds.
Our waitress did tell us that there was a backlog of orders and dishes may take a while but we never felt that the food coming out was slow. We ordered a few dishes at a time and food arrived at a steady pace.
The chicken with glutinous rice in lotus leaf was so good we had it twice! The rice was sticky enough to be yummy but wasn't too heavy on the tummy which it can be sometimes. The chicken was minced so maybe chunks would be nicer and more like the traditional yum cha version.
Egg custard with crab and XO sauce was also tasty. I think I prefer the version with minced quail though as the slightly denser texture of the quail is a good contrast to the egg custard and I also think there are nuts in that version which also adds more textural dimensions. The flavours here were good but the crab can be mushy which just blends into the soft egg.
The white cut chicken steamed bun with salted chilli and pickles was a new one for us and I am a fan of chilli steamed chicken. The sight of the chilli was a touch daunting for Steve - the bright red splodge against the pure white bread. It's a good bun but the pork one done well is still the winner. On this occasion I preferred the chicken as the bread seemed fresher but I'd got the pork one on an off day. I guess the lesson is to order both to avoid disappointment!
Now for some quail - sizzling spicy fried quail. For some reason I thought it would be crispy but it wasn't. Not sure if I was disappointed or not because I still enjoyed getting stuck into the little bird. Great soy, chilli, ginger and garlic flavours - what can go wrong with this combination and a tasty little bird?
There was disappointment at the end of the meal in that we'd missed out on egg tarts as they'd sold the last just seconds before our order was put in. So dang and dash...somewhere in the restaurant was an egg tart thief!
All in all Spice Temple yum cha was a success. Yes pricier but it's a longer more leisurely meal with service that is more attentive than traditional yum cha. I love the smaller bites tapas style menu. We spent the same as what we would have done had we ordered from the old menu and got to taste more things so that works for us. In the same way, it's possible to spend a lot less and still get to eat what feels like a decent amount of food so good to attract the more budget conscious too.
Yep I'd come again for yum cha although at Spice Temple it's less yum cha and more yum wine, yum cocktail, yum yum! Oh and I'd reserve an egg tart right at the start before the egg tart thief strikes.