design: Grant Cheyne
Photographer: Tom Ferguson
tiles: Academy Tiles
The vision for this new dining experience is not too far from the one we developed for Spice Temple however I’d say the ‘sexy’ in Spice Temple is replaced with ‘dignified’ at JT. Definitely a destination for lovers of great cantonese dishes.
Relaxed and eclectic, the Jade Temple decor is inspired by the heritage Burns Philp & Co. building in which it is located and the colonial past of some Asian cities that existed at about the time it was constructed. Although the original concepts for a different site were more along the lines of ‘James Bond visits a Macau casino’ the concepts evolved to compliment the listed venue.
That ambiance is intrinsically linked with the tropics. Slow turning ceiling fans and plantation shutters seemed a good fit for this as well as the character of the ornate features of the space. The original owners of the building coincidentally operated a vast fleet of trading ships in the Asia-Pacific region.
A magnificent antique console, lifted in to place with much cursing, sits in front of the tiny new mezzanine bar. Light fittings imported from China add a touch of whimsy and elegance. Many of the loose furniture items were salvaged from former restaurants including Rockpool. In fact a lot of Rockpool is still there just beneath the surface like the the old acoustic wall coverings concealed by new artwork printed on cloth so that we could still benefit from the noise absorption.
It is a western interpretation of traditional Chinese motifs and artworks, a melting pot of influences with intentionally mis-matched furniture and a few antique items. Although early concept designs called for two traditional ‘Foo Dogs’ to greet guests and the entrance we were delighted to find two Chinese cast iron statues from 1900 right here in Sydney!
Hand crafted bamboo table lamps and chandeliers tread the line between Chinese urban modernity and humble village origins.