Ever wondered what $142 million will get you? With rising housing prices not much but we here you cry! Anyone who had visitied Marrickville Metro will share it wasn’t the best experience, infact it could have been one you vowed never to return again. Hold your chopsticks! Hello Sydney! It’s been renovated and has an uber sexy new wing which includes lane way dining.
On a cold, wet, wintery night our Uber draws up to Smidmore Street. We are oohing and arhhing before we get out of our cab. Whaaat??? The area is unrecognisable, trees are sparkling with fairy lights – a new dining precinct has just been born. Discovering a new eat street is like finding gold. Smidmore Street is still coming alive, with some venues yet to open, but already many of the restaurants are buzzing and live music is creating an outdoor dining vibe. We are here to check out Rice Pantry and judging from how packed it is, the locals are already in love!
You can enter street side or from the shopping wing where they have created a inside corridor of street art. If you fancy a cocktail head to the oval bar at the front. We snag a comfy banquet seat that runs along the length of the restaurant. High tables are perfect for dates nights, giving a little more intimacy. The open kitchen runs along the far side of the room as a suspended garden of potted plants marry’s nature and an interior design of soft pinks to create an intimate dining space.
Rice Pantry is already much loved. The Marrickville venue brings Masterchef favourite, Head Chef, Bryan Zhu together with owners Cecilia and Jackie who opened Rice Pantry in St Peters in 2017.
We kick off with lotus chips which are on the overly suntanned side of golden and gloriously crispy. Next, is our dish of the night. Hello crispy eggplant. Thin slices are swirled with house X.O. Sauce, ginger and garlic – its silky, sticky and simply morish. Salt & pepper squid is battered on a bed of stir fried shallot with a Nuoc cham chilli lime dipping sauce to balance out the dish.
We are excited about mains and well, the rice! Orders of fragrant chicken rice and the ‘rice of the day’ (which is pandan and coconut) arrive. They are small bowls so you may want to up your order. Mains are a hearty winter red vegetable coconut curry, the rice is lapped up in no time.
A bowl of juicy pork belly ribs has mostly fallen off the bone, with a topping of fresh coriander, fresh chili slices and micro herbs. We fight till the last chunk and drizzle juices over the remaining grains of rice. Four king prawns are split, doused in tamarind and charcoal gilled. Delicious but could have been even better with a little less sauce so the grill could really caramalise the flesh. Sesame broccolini is the side of the night. Add honey yuzu prawn bao buns at $13 for two and that’s great value.
Whilst our tummies tell us ‘no’ our neighbours have ordered a Vietnamese Coffee Lamington with espresso, vanilla . It’s such a beauty we can’t leave without trying it. Delish.
With a cocktail menu that spans the orient, our pick is the Suddenly Lychee. It is a mix of 21 Bombay Sapphire, Elderflower, Lychee Umeshu, Rhubarb Bitters and Lemon Juice. It’s an elegant blend and accompanied with two lychees to make your taste buds pop. If you like skin contact rose’s try the Clementine Gris from Orange, its nicely paired with Asian aromatics.
Rice Pantry is definitely one you want to add to your store of ‘to go’ restaurants. Fun, fabulous and all your favourites with a bit of a Vietnamese twist just slightly outside of the norm.
G002 / 20 Smidmore Street, Marrickville NSW 2204
Hours: Tues – Thurs: 11.30 – 15:00 & 17:30 – 21:00, Fri – Sat: 11.30 – 15:00 & 17:30 – late, Sunday: 11:30 – 15:00, Monday: Closed