Thursday, 26 October 2017

Jade Temple, Sydney CBD

I had the pleasure of indulging in some dumplings at Neil Perry's new venture - Jade Temple which is the sister restaurant to Spice Temple. At lunch time, their yum cha menu is available so Matt and I hit the new venue on a lazy Sunday afternoon. As I entered, I could see Neil Perry at one of the tables. I felt slightly star struck. I did see Neil Perry at Burger Project once as well when it first opened in World Square and had a similar feeling then as well.

The venue itself is beautiful with unique looking light fixtures on the roof and a mix of traditional chinese and modern decore. The staff at Jade Temple are very friendly and professional, reflective of the premium price tag and premium yum cha experience. There are no yum cha carts, you order off the menu. But first... a drink to celebrate the weekend, our recent engagement and seeing Neil Perry.

We cheers over a glass of the 2015 Emmerich Knoll, Steinfeder from Wachau in Austria ($18). It's light, crisp with light citrus tones. It's quite enjoyable to drink and the perfect partner to our dumplings.

The premium yum cha experience has an array of dumplings to choose from. All the dumplings come in portions of three except for the chicken pie that comes in a portion of 2. Dumplings are little morsels of heaven. This Prawn and scallop Dragon dumpling was beautifully presented. With fish eggs and little gold particles on top, I felt guilty demolishing this beautiful dumpling. Prawn and scallops are always a winning combination.

The Duck Egg ($15, 3 pc) is a highlight. MW tells me this is his favourite dish of the day. The soft dough shell encases the warm and soft duck filling. MW loves duck so I'm not surprised that he enjoys this dish. This is a savoury dish. I know you can typically get this dish at yum cha with pork but this also with red bean. This Duck version is definitely a premium version. I highly recommend.

The Pork Pot Sticker with black vinegar ($15, 3 pc) are always a favourite with everyone with slightly crunchy skin on one side and soft silky textures on the other. The tangy vinegar cuts through the pork pot sticker for a delicious combination. The skin is slightly thicker than a typical gyoza however Chinese dumplings always have thicker skin so it's to be expected.

The "Guangdong" with dried shrimp, pork and chive ($12, 3 pc) has a unique silky skin and is topped with fish eggs. As soon as I first see the dumpling my senses immediately are heightened. It's delicate and beautiful - definitely one to appreciate.This dumpling is unique and I've not seen this at your typical yum cha experience. The silky skin encases the prawn and pork which is a traditional combination.

The Crystal dumpling with truffle mushrooms ($12, 3 pc) is also delightful. They are perfection as the dumpling is moist, round and will lots of filling. The hint of truffle is luxurious and smooth. Mushrooms soak up that truffle flavour well. I like the shape of these style of dumplings as you bite into the dumpling.

A favourite in Shanghai is the Pork Xiao Long Bao with red vinegar and ginger ($12, 3 pc). I am a massive fan of the XLB and the trick is to put the dumpling on a spoon and pierce a small hole. The soup filled dumplings can be surprisingly hot so be aware however as MW and I are seasoned dumpling eaters, we are all over this. The vinegar sauce is nice although I slightly long for that dash of soy sauce. 
Now it's time for a taste of the sweeter treats. MW and I start off with the Sesame Balls ($12). These soft spheres have tiny sesame seeds on the exterior and sweet red bean in the middle. I love a good red bean sesame ball. The texture on the skin is crucial and is perfectly balanced with being soft and doughy but also with a slight crunch to contrast with the red bean.

The highlight of the sweeter dishes is mysterious dish. Talk about innovation and creativity. This looks like a mushroom but it's actually a Molten Duck Egg Custard Bao ($12, 3 pc). I am shocked at how realistic they are able to make this dish look like a mushroom. It certainly adds to the food theatre of this dish. As you bite in, there's comforting egg custard which is sweet. The mushroom is actually of a bao texture. The staff suggest we dip the dish in the chocolate crumb. It's a great suggestion and one that we immediately take up. I highly recommend ordering this dish.

If you are livid tea drinker, make sure you ask for the tea menu. What a beautiful arrangement they have (I won't ruin the surprise and intrigue of how the menu looks). The tea is refreshing and smooth. MW goes for the chamomile tea with a hint of yuzu which is delicious. I go for the more traditional silver needle green tea. Lovely.

Summary: So for those who are seeking a premium yum cha experience, why not check out Jade Temple? There's a good mix of traditional style dumplings and some innovative new ones to try.  My favourite was definitely the Molten Duck Egg Custard Bao. MW will highly recommend the Duck Egg.

I would recommend ordering some of the dishes that sound different and unique rather than sticking to traditional favourites. Live life to the max right?

There are no carts and the price point is higher so don't expect a traditional experience. This is a modern and premium version. Be aware of the hours that Jade Temple for Yum Cha (Only lunch time from 12pm)

Price: About $12 per dish - depends on how many dishes you order.

Location: 11 Bridge St, Sydney

Opening Hours: 

12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm Daily (closed 10pm on Sunday)

Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Rock Pool Group. All photos, opinions and words are my own.

Jade Temple Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato