Rice Queen Smith Street Fitzroy

As an ‘oriental’, I was intrigued by the concept of an ‘oriental diner’? I mean, what’s ‘oriental’ food exactly?

The menu at Rice Queen appears to cover the gamut of a whole eating continent, from Japanese to Chinese, Sri Lankan to Thai. What this means is that there’s a patchiness in the quality of the food, and you can’t expect the dishes to be very authentic.


Rice Queen Smith Street Fitzroy

The tangy and refreshing green mango salad with crispy fish and cashews ($15) was the most successful dish of the evening. The char kway tweo was passable, with the sloppy noodles doused in dark soy (very unphotogenic) and needing a good kick of seasoning. The least successful dish was the day’s special, a Sri Lankan seafood curry.  It was a beautiful looking hot-pot but tasted very bland, with the broth diluted by too many watery tomatoes.

On the plus side, the tropical, almost Hawaiian-tiki vibe to the spacious upper floor restaurant makes it a good location for a gathering with friends.  Groups are well served if the diners have different tastes and can’t decide on a cuisine. At a maximum $15 a main, it’s very reasonably priced.

However, in my view if you’re going to eat ‘oriental’ food, you’re better off heading to a number of other places on Smith Street – like Mamanee Thai, Wabi Sabi Salon, Peko Peko or Goshen.

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