Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review: Spice I Am, Darlinghurst

About a week ago AL, VH and I decided to hit up Spice I Am in Darlinghurst, located beside the lovely Tastevin which we had been the secret hideout of our previous girly gossip session. Despite each of us going on separate ways post-high school, each and every one of these meetings remind us of just how little we have grown up...

Booking a table in the lounge section in front of the bar meant that we simply could not control our alcoholic tendencies. Besides, what's a gossip session without the cocktails?

Luckily for us, Spice I Am does a range of scumpdiddlyumptious fruity cocktails.

Canadian Summer (left): Fresh corindi raspberries, Canadian Club Whisky, Absolut Raspberry vodka, French rockmelon liqueur, and ruby red grapefruit juice

Tiger Paw (right): Crushed pineapple, panama passionfruit, Wybowora apple vodka, French mango liqueur, and a touch of tiger secret

I rest my case.

Bour Tod (Phuket style fritter of green school prawns on crispy betel leaf with chilli sauce, crushed cashew nuts and coriander) - $14

I'd like to point out right about here that the waitress in charge of my area was perhaps one of the most lovely and attentive waitress I've encountered in my various roamings around Sydney's eateries. This Betel Leaf dish was one of her many recommendations for our table, and it was most certainly a winner.

If you ever visit Spice I Am, do yourself a favour and try it. Who knew a piece of leaf could taste so good?

Roast Duck salad served with whole cashews, chilli and lemongrass (seasonal special)

The roast duck salad was most definitely a winner with all of us at the table as the plate disappeared before you could even take a deep breath to soak up the aromas. Every mouthful was bursting with fragrance, flavour and fire.

Yeah fire. Did I mention that the dish was damn-freakin' hot?

As I quickly guzzled down water to put out the fire in my mouth, AL and her Malay innards pointed and laughed at me the way Ralph does in Simpsons. Despite practically losing my oral sensations, I still happily licked the plate clean. It was that good.

Pla Yum Ma Muang - Deep fried whole baby snapper with green mango salad, palm sugar, garlic and red chilli dressing - $38

Hello SK! This snapper is for you!

Anyway, I may have forgotten to mention that when our table ordered the snapper as one of our main, our ever-helpful waitress took a quick look at us before warning that the dish could feed us 4 times over. But then who can say no to deep fried snapper? I mean, you're talking about the person who could eat a chairleg deep fried. The snapper had to stay, and to that end we quickly struck off a few other dishes and stayed with this one.

Was I glad? You can bet your FIFA World Cup that I was.

The snapper was so moist and juicy on the inside, and the mango salad dressed on top was a real tangy hit to rid of any hint of greasiness from the deep frying. (What greasiness? Pfft...) I think I may have demolished 3/4 of the dish as AL and VH watched in horror.

Yum Hua Plee - Shredded banana flower with king prawns, roasted coconuts, shallots, chilli, coriander and nam pik pao dressing - $35

Back when we were in Hoi An, Vietnam, AL, VH and I all attended a private cooking class where we learnt how to make banana flower salad. From that day on not only did we fall in love with the incredible flavours of the dish - spicy, tangy, refreshing, fragrant, savoury, sweet, you name it - but everything about this dish brings back memories of our epic trip and sunfilled days biking around Vietnam.

This one was no different, except when it arrived all we could really talk about was how the banana flower market in Sydney may as well be a black market. I never see any around my area, but AL claimed to see them selling at $6 each in Cabramatta. I think I nearly choked when I heard that. Imagine what the prices would've been like during the banana crisis we had a few year back.

Hello QLD? Sharing is caring.

Khao Naew Ma Muang - Sticky rice served with fresh nam dok mai mango and coconut sauce - $20

The great thing about Spice I Am is that this is most definitely a place you could hit up later in the night for a good cocktail and grab some dessert. This Khao Naew Ma Muang was to die for, combining a delicate balance between a light savouriness in the sticky rice, the tangy bite of the mango and a light, smooth and creamy sweetness from the coconut sauce. Needless to say I was too full to fully devour this, but this is something that I would definitely reorder on my next visit back.

Saa Ku - Tapioca pearl with coconut and dark palm sugar sauce - $15

Oh heaven save me from my ever-increasingly bulgy stomach. Not only was this a great dessert to finish the night off with, but the mango iced topping worked surprisingly well as a refreshing palate cleanser with light coconut milk syrup being beautifully indulgent without the richness. Unfortunately our three spoons simply did not fit well in the glass all at the same time so the table descended into anarchic hell as we turned our spoons into swords and battled down to the very last morsel of this dessert.

Classy as always. Interpret how you will.

Spice I Am
296-300 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9332 2445


  1. The desserts look so nice! I've wanted to try the new Spice I am, it looks so much nicer than it's squishy, small counterpart.

  2. What a lovely spread of dishes. The Bour Tod looks interesting. I'll try that for next time.

  3. The duck salad looks good indeed! And I'm an absolute sucker for nuts. LOL at the ensuing cutlery battle for dessert, but sounds like good times were had by all =)

  4. looks delicious.

    nice bumping into you last night Andy =)Did you have fun? Eat any pizza?

  5. I still cannot believe I haven't been Spice I Am yet!!! Must be the only foodblogger that hasn't been, feeling quite n00b

  6. Haven't been to this place yet on the account friends said it was the dressier, snootier, pricier version of the original, but your account of the service makes me think twice. Time to head down to Darlinghurst and check it out

  7. i'm SO glad that you chose to have the snapper - it looks DELICIOUS! as do all the desserts :)

    haha i also really love the garlic snapper at thai pothong... we need to go back there!

  8. I'm also a noob

    Nice menu picks, desserts look especially enticing. Also useful for extinguishing spot fires if you're a peon who can't handle the heat *smirks*

  9. Love this place, but always so hard to get in, great review and pics.

  10. the desserts, especially the mango one and it's presentation is stupendous!

  11. The food all looks so wonderful. My tummy was rumbling as I read you site!

  12. The mango dessert looks really good. I should try sometime soon