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Rice Queen Oriental Diner and Bar

Home > Melbourne > Vegan | Restaurants | Gluten Free | Cocktail Bars | Vegetarian
by Aloo (subscribe)
Melbourne has so much to offer. I love experiencing new places and events and sharing them with you. I have an interest in gluten free, vegan and vegetarian diets so I will let you know if you these can be catered for in my reviews.
Published December 26th 2012
Immerse yourself in the culture

It was a hot afternoon on Brunswick Street, as I made my way to Rice Queen after a day out. I was hot and bothered so although I was terribly early, I thought I would head inside early and have a cocktail while I waited for my dinner companion.

The decorations of red lanterns, flower blossoms and bamboo give this place a distinctive feel. There are tables out front should you want to people watch and enjoy the weather. Inside has a different ambience, with a feeling of seclusion.

So, laden with shopping I fell in the door and explained we didn't have a table booked but we were dining in an hour or so and in the meantime I was just going to have a drink and wait.

Confusion reigned, and they were insistent that I make a booking for dinner. Sure, I said, starting to feel a little confused myself. There was only one other person in the restaurant at this time. They kept me waiting while they had some technical issues with the booking, and the table numbers and the process. Eventually with two of them they made me a booking for two under the wrong name and I was seated. All the staff went back to the their duties. It was a new booking system so I can forgive that, but I felt that it could have been handled a little better. I just had to laugh, I really needed a drink.

After being seated and sending a couple of text messages, checking the drinks menu and starting to read my book I realised I was still thirsty. I had to flag down a waitress to order, but the drink arrived pretty promptly. My Pimms cocktail was delightful. Lots of fresh fruit and mint. Very refreshing indeed.
Pimms cocktail

They state on the menu that they offer plenty of options for those on vegan and gluten free diets. Many dishes are suitable for other dietary restrictions and allergies. When my friend arrived, we ordered some dishes to share. We didn't have to wait long for the food, once we ordered.
Mushroom and glass noodle rolls with ginger dipping sauce. ($7).

The glass noodle rolls were lovely. Fresh tasting and the sauce was delightful.

Flat fried sesame gyoza crisps with white miso smoky eggplant sauce and pickled cucumber ($6).

The gyoza were crispy and nice with the cucumber salad and eggplant sauce, but unexpected in that usually gyoza are filled dumplings. The waitress must get that reaction a bit, because she did explain that to us when we ordered.

Spicy sweet potato with tamarind, coriander, toasted coconut ($17)

The sweet potato dish was mighty spicy and one dimensional as a result. Although there was the texture of the coconut through it, the taste was indiscernible through the chill. It really needed an accompaniment to cool this dish down such as a side salad or yoghurt. I love a good curry, but this lacked the complexity of combining complimentary spices in the right proportions. Chilli lovers may delight in this though.
Get into the Asian theme

The Rice Queen has a private Karaoke room out the back too where up to 16 people can join in the fun. Packages are available - now there's a great idea to make it a memorable night!

Overall, Rice Queen is a fun place to visit with friends for the ambience out front, karaoke out back and vast bar menu. The food is alright too, but you may need to be a little assertive to get service when you want it.
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Why? Fun vibe, great bar (& karaoke out the back).
When: Dinner Tues-Fri 4pm till late and Lunch and Dinner Sat/Sun 12pm till late. May be open some Friday lunches, check with them.
Phone: 03 9419 6624
Where: 389 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Your Comment
Celebrated a milestone birthday here early December with a group of 16 friends. The decor of the restaurant was what really seduced me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the food, and the cocktails were outstanding. We hired the Karaoke room out the back and proceeded to have one of the most entertaining evenings of my life! The service was great, even though they were busy, and they had even printed my name on the menu of the courses I had selected. Even though we had the Karaoke room booked for only an hour and a half, they let us stay on later as there was no one booked in after us. Can highly recommend.
by abbyl (score: 2|115) 2455 days ago
That sounds like a fabulous night Abbyl! Great to know.
by Aloo (score: 1|90) 2455 days ago
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