A post about Rose BBQ offers a nice little segway into a discussion about Rice Paper Scissors. This place does offer nouveau cuisine/Asian fusion and it does it very well - tasty, zesty flavours that pay homage to authentic and traditional dishes.
Rice Paper Scissors is my favourite restaurant in Melbourne, not just because I love modern Asian food but because everything is small and you get to try a little of so many things. For a couple, the standard option is five dishes for $55 (27.50 each - bargain). If there are more of you, you all order the same five dishes, they just bring out the number of portions you need. They are flexible and do allow group members to order different options, provided you don't have a group over 12, but don't make it too complicated - be nice to my Rice Paper Scissors peeps, they bring me food gold.
I have tried about half the dishes on the menu and nothing has disappointed me. My must haves are the twice cooked pork belly with tamarind caramel sauce, the steamed pork bun with delectable crispy pork belly, shallots, cucumber and hoisin sauce. Depending on my mood, I then add a veggie dish of some sort, roast duck and one or more of the meat options. I even trust the chefs so much that I'm going to try the lime cured kingfish next time. I need to eat seafood and one of these days my taste buds are going to catch up and learn to love it.
In terms of the flavours, everything is bold but not overpowering. There isn't any misplaced sweetness, just the right mix of tangy, sour and spice. It is fussy eater friendly as nearly everything is gluten free, dairy free and egg free. I don't have to alter a thing but vegans would definitely struggle and perhaps might even need to go elsewhere.
The only downside is you have to wait. They only take bookings for big groups and they allow an hour for each sitting. I have been turned away many times, including once when I arrived two minutes after the bar opened, not even the restaurant - the street was packed and a waiting list was already going. The Fitzroy place is more than double the size of the city venue and you can sometimes get a table with no wait but the staff are not as friendly (a few huffy, puffy, I'm too good for you types).
Now, here is where I rail against the Good Food Guide. Rice Paper Scissors was not in any of the 2015 guides. Any!! I sincerely hope they have rectified this for the 2016 version, otherwise I am going to have to question their taste buds. This restaurant has well and truly earned its three ticks. Come and fight me to get a table and don't get offended if I try to glare at you to hurry the hell up, finish your Asian inspired cocktail and let me at it!
mmm, look how crispy that is. So delectable
twice cooked pork belly, looks are deceiving, it is very crispy
ribs, a dish I don't eat elsewhere (portions for five of us)