Rice Queen Oriental Bar and Diner
389-391 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC
(03) 9419 6624
The nights of visiting three different venues for dinner, drinks and entertainment are over, thanks to Rice Queen.
The Asian restaurant on bustling Brunswick Street expertly combines fantastic fare, signature cocktails, DJs and a private karaoke room for a unique drinking and dining experience, all under the one roof.
Owner, Laki Papadopoulos has been involved in Fitzroy’s culinary scene for more than two decades. Co-owning Vegie Bar and Transformer, as well as opening Panama Dining Room, Laki knows a thing or two about what people want from a venue around these parts.
His wisdom and knowledge have been painted on the walls of Rice Queen, creating a venue that welcomes everyone, whether it’s for a quick drink and snack or the full dining experience.
When charged with implementing the vision of the owners, visual merchandiser and interior designer MARION was given the brief ‘Go to town & have fun with it.’ The result is a world of kitsch Asian design, where paper lanterns adorn the ceilings, fortune cats swing their arms on top of the bar and Japanese owers sit by the bright blue feature wall.
While the décor might be a spectacle itself, the real entertainment comes from the diverse menu, which features dishes hand-picked from a range of di erent Asian cuisines. Geared towards sharing, it’s best enjoyed by ordering a selection of plates for the table and tasting as many avours as possible.
If you’re after something to nibble on with your drink, order the baby banh mi, a take on the classic Vietnamese bread roll. Have it in roll form or ssam style, with llings such as pulled pork, fried tofu, so shell crab and chicken and suan chai. Move onto the caramelised pork bites – twice cooked pork belly served with green nam jim, crispy shallots and garlic chips, before indulging in Rice Queen’s version of KFC: Korean Fried Chicken.
If the smaller plates seem too small, look to the in-betweeners, including Thai beef salad with fresh herbs, roasted coconut, shallots, peanuts, capsicum and bean sprouts, and spiced duck with salted cucumber ribbons, chilli, pickled ginger and sesame dressing.
And if you’re here for the full dining experience, zero into the larger plates. The lamb backstrap wok tossed with spicy cumin seasoning and mixed peppers will halt any hunger pangs in their tracks. For something that bends the rules between cuisines, try the Korean DIY tacos, which include slow roasted Korean-style pork served with steamed rice, kimchi, bu er le uce cups and home-made ssam sauce.
Whatever you do, remember to order a cocktail for dessert. The bar team pride themselves on shaking, stirring or building delicious seasonal concoctions that re ect and complement the food. Sip on a Kaffioska – kafir lime infused vodka, smashed lime and raw sugar, or knock back a Prince Harry, combining West Winds gin, ginger liqueur, orange juice, fresh lime and house-made orgeat.
When all the eating and drinking is done, turn to the private karaoke room for some post-dinner fun. With room for 15 and an impressive tracklist, you’ll be singing until the early hours of the morning.