Rice Paper Scissors

19 Liverpool Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Sometimes I forget about why I blog. It’s unfortunate that when I get more involved with a hobby (such as food blogging!), it will slowly morph over time from hobby to commitment, and commitment to chore. There are days where blogging feels like a dead weight to be lugged around on top of my work and study obligations. And in times like this, it’s good to pause and to remember what led me to food blogging in the first place – a love of food and new experiences.  
After forcing myself to take a short break, I’m back at Rice Paper Scissors feeling if not like a new person, then at least somewhat refreshed and more excited about blogging. Though the smell of fresh paint has long since dissipated, Rice Paper Scissors has only been open for a year or so, but managed to whip itself up a fanatical following in that time. Our plans to visit on a Friday after work were thwarted by a 1+ hour wait, despite arriving just 10 minutes after opening. Oh how I miss not working 8-5!
Rice Paper Scissors is my sort of bar, where the food is just as revered as the alcohol. The menu is short and succinct, consisting of two dozen or so (that’s including the daily specials) street-food-styled dishes taken from South-East Asia. Most couples opt for the Share the Love option – any 5 dishes for $55, to be split between two people. Though not necessarily cheaper than ordering the dishes individually, as they are all somewhere around the $10 mark, it’s a relief to know exactly how much food to order, with the added bonus of a predictable bill at the end. The menu suggested that we ‘use our hands’, and the suggestion is so sincere that we were given a small finger bowl along with our cutlery. Other street-styled restaurants, taken note!
Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Chilli Caramel Sauce ($11)
Always hard to resist is the Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Chilli Caramel Sauce ($11). Very used to Melbourne’s serving sizes, I found the four bricks of golden pork belly to be surprisingly generous, a theme that carried through the rest of our meal. Ribboned with fat and crackling, the pork belly showed its true potential when dipped into the sticky chilli jam, which was a harmonious yet spirited blend of sweet and tangy, and just enough chilli to tingle. 
BBQ Lamb Ribs ($11)
The BBQ Lamb Ribs ($11) were marinated in a mixture of soy and Mekong whisky, and melted sweetly and succulently off the bone, helped by a generous amount of fat. Though the marinade could’ve capitalised from more depth of flavour, the lemongrass and coriander garnishing the ribs provided a prime opportunity to liven up the lamb. 
Thai Ceviche ($12)
I really liked the way the Thai Ceviche($12) was served in a small metal tin. It reminded me a little of the canned fish with black beans I used to eat when I was younger (it’s also the first image that pops up if you google ‘Chinese canned fish’)
Thai Ceviche ($12)
But this was a far cry from greasy, preserved fillets of dace. Bright and spicy, the diced kingfish was mixed with a mouth-watering blend of chilli, fresh herbs, red onions, and a squeeze of lemon. The texture of the crackers varied a bit, and some were rather stale and tough, but I was quite happy eating the ceviche straight from the spoon. 
Thai Fried Chicken ($11)
I had started to regret ordering so many rich dishes by this point, but there was no way I could’ve gone past the Thai Fried Chicken ($11). Once again, bonus points for presentation that reminded me nostalgically of paper boxes of chicken nuggets. 
Thai Fried Chicken ($11)
Despite being golden and crunchy, the batter was actually quite wet. I suspect this was due to the fact that the batter was actually fairly minimal; instead, the chefs decided to let the subtle flavours of ginger, chilli, and coriander root soak into the chicken itself. The meat was tender and incredibly moist, and I almost burnt myself trying to eat these in my eagerness. 
Son-In-Law Eggs ($9)
Son-In-Law Eggs ($9)
Finishing up our mini-banquet were the Son-In-Law Eggs ($9). These were a little odd; instead of being soft boiled then deep fried, the eggs were fried sunny side up, before being blanketed with herbs and chilli. I’ll admit, it was nice not having to worry about egg yolk getting everywhere, but I felt that the sauce could’ve used more backbone to it – too much caramel, and not enough chilli.
Only minor things stopped Rice Paper Scissors from becoming my new favourite hangout. Though the service was friendly, it suffered from inconsistency. Our tiny space along the bar became rapidly cluttered when we were served 4 dishes within 5 minutes, but when we requested that they slowed the food down, we didn’t end up getting our final dish until we asked, despite our table having been cleared. Petty I know, but it’s just frustrating watching all the food go cold in front of our eyes. Still, Rice Paper Scissors is pretty great, and is the answer for everyone who can’t be bothered queuing up outside Chin Chin for half their evening.
Rating: 15.5/20 – rice beats scissors.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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