Rice Paper Scissors, Fitzroy

Rice Paper Scissors is a Thai fusion restaurant in Fitzroy on Brunswick St, close to a number of restaurants and easily accessible by tram 11. The original restaurant is actually situated in the CBD on Liverpool St, but as it's quite small and there was a few of us, we decided to go to the one in Fitzroy for better luck getting a table. It was a really enjoyable experience at Rice Paper Scissors and I'd definitely recommend going.

As Rice Paper Scissors only takes bookings for lunch and not dinner, we made sure to go as soon as it was opened so we didn't have to wait too long for a table of six. The brick walls contrast with the art on the walls for a rustic yet modern feel, and there's an upbeat, vibrant atmosphere to the place. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and extremely attentive to dietary requirements and allergies, coming back to double check with us a few times to make sure it was all okay.

There's an interesting mix of entree and main dishes at Rice Paper Scissors, and most are designed to be shared; on the menu they have a $55 for 2 people offer, which allows you to choose 5 of the dishes for that price. This worked out perfectly for the 6 of us, and they just gave us more portions of each dish. We decided to go with the Galloping Horses (4pc/$10), Betel Leaf (2pc/$11), Sticky Pork Belly ($12), Mini Vietnamese Baguettes (2pc/$13) and the Thai Fried Chicken ($12). One of my friends also got the Steamed Pork Bun, as she was allergic to nuts and couldn't have one of the dishes.

The Galloping Horses consisted of caramelised pork, prawn and peanut on a sour pineapple. The pineapple was extremely juicy and refreshing, and contrasted really well with the heavier flavours of the pork and the prawn. I thought the pineapple was more sweet than sour, and not too overpowering, however for some of my friends, they thought it was a bit too much.

The Betel Leaf dish was topped with balinese roast duck and a coconut sambal. The crunch from the leaf gave great texture to the dish and was light and refreshing. There wasn't a very strong duck flavour, but the coconut sambal brought through a nice, natural sweet flavour to the dish.

The Sticky Pork Belly was twice cooked pork in a tamarind caramel sauce, and topped with a herb salad. This was my favourite dish of the night; the pork belly was extremely tender and juicy, with the perfect amount of sweetness from the tamarind caramel sauce that made it enjoyable but not sickly. The crunch from the crackling, with the softness of the fat and the harder texture of the pork itself made for a really good combination, and the heavy flavours were balanced out really well by the light salad of bean shoots, mint leaves and chilli.

The mini baguettes consisted of crispy soft shell crab with pickled vegetables, herbs and a homemade pate. The bun itself was extremely soft with a slight sweetness to it, and the soft shell crab was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There was a good balance of flavours and overall this was quite a light dish, which was good compared to some of the heavier flavours we had from the other dishes.

The Thai fried chicken was marinated in galangal, chilli and coriander root, and came with a dipping sauce on the side. The batter was really light and the chicken tender, flavoursome and juicy. I felt that the chicken itself was flavoursome enough without any of the aioli dip, but also tasted really great with it for a different kick.

Overall it was a great experience at Rice Paper Scissors, and I'd definitely be coming back to try some of their other dishes.

Ambience: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Food: 8.5/10
Price: $$

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