22 July 2022

Five minutes with Shan and Dilini, Sugar & Spice Temora

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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restaurateurs Shan and Dilini Jayawardene stand next to their food van

Temora culinary duo Shan and Dilini Jayawardene in front of their well known Sugar and Spice vintage food van. Photos: Supplied.

Who are Shan and Dilini Jayawardene? We are the proud owners of Sugar and Spice – a vintage food caravan. We operate at Lake Centenary (Temora) and are open to being hired for nearby events. We used to own Diners Choice [restaurant] in Temora.

Best recent dining experience:

Dilini – It has been a while since we last went out but the last time we went to the Grounds of Alexandria [Sydney] and had brunch with our kids.
Shan – Burnt Orange in Mosman.

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Favourite cuisine:

Dilini – I can’t go past Sri Lankan.
Shan – I’m the same as Dilini; I like my spicy food.

Most embarrassing pantry item:

Dilini – All I can think of is the fresh homemade lime pickle I made. It’s sour and salty and you only have a pinch of it with rice and curry. I’m the only one who eats it.

Cupcakes with pistachio and roses

Dilini’s Baklava Cupcakes.

What ingredient can I not live without?

Dilini – I cannot live without eggs, sugar and salt. I can’t make many of my things without eggs.
Shan – Chilli, garlic and ginger.

Best coffee spot in Temora:

Dilini – I wouldn’t go past Sugar and Spice.
Shan – Coffee Bar On Hoskins.

Shan Jayawardene,

Shan still serves some of his favourite dishes from his restaurants.

Next big thing in the Temora food scene: We have been teased about The Railway Hotel and they have been renovating it for a long time. It sounds like a big project with lots of dining experiences.

A must-try on our menu: Shan’s favourite creamy garlic prawns and Nasi Goreng. We still incorporate many menu items from Diners Choice but do it on a smaller scale. Shan knows the favourite dishes that people like to eat.

Sugar and Spice vintage food van.

My biggest culinary influence:

Dilini – My mum. I love sweets and picked that up from her.
Shan – My dad used to work at the Sri Lankan tourist board. I used to visit hotels all the time and I fell in love with cooking.

Favourite cookbook:

Dilini – PS Desserts by Philippa Sibley. She has a beautiful dessert book and I look at her recipes and apply them as they suit my cooking style.
Shan – I don’t have a favourite cookbook, but I do like reading books from chefs with different cuisines.

Restaurateur Dilini Jayawardene smiles from inside her food caravan Sugar and Spice in Temora

Dilini credits her mother for her love of sweets.

Who I admire in the Temora food and wine scene:

Dilini – To be honest, I would say Shan. I’m in awe of all the things he has done for so long. Sometimes he has been sick and he has carried on. I get teary thinking about it.
Shan – Dilini of course. She has always backed me up with her beautiful desserts.

What are this week’s specials at Sugar & Spice Temora? Homemade chicken stroganoff pie, chicken and prawn nasi goreng and lamb shanks.

chocolate raspberry fudge cake

Dilini’s chocolate raspberry fudge cake.

Death row meal:

Dilini – Hoppers (coconut-laced rice flour pancakes) with chilli sambal. It’s a favourite of our grandchildren too.
Shan – I would like to have some nice chilli crab.

My least favourite food:

Dilini – I don’t like fish.
Shan – Pig trotters.

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My COVID-19 response: That was an experience. Even though the restaurant was closed, people supported us [through the food van]. We used to have really fast service and we were busy.

My top three cooking tips:

Dilini – Cook with love and from the heart no matter how long it takes. Make it flavoursome and have a good presentation.
Shan – Have flavour in the dish, don’t burn the bottom of the pan and presentation.

Sugar and Spice is open every Wednesday from 10 am to 3 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (weather permitting). It is located at Lake Centenary, 420 Goldfields Way, Temora.

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