Whether it’s five-course fine dining or a late-night burger and fries, it goes without saying that a laneway feed is quintessentially Melbourne.
Perhaps, the most well-known of them all is Hardware Lane. Stroll about halfway down and you'll find a place to take someone you're trying to impress; Rice Paper Sister.
Rice Paper Sister is the third restaurant from owners Rahmie Clowes and Shane Stafford and we can confirm that they’ve nailed the casual yet sophisticated dining approach. Featuring a fluid South East Asian menu, charming service and a chic, stylish interior, this place ticks all the boxes.
Head Chef Ross has payed homage to his Southeast Asian heritage when creating the menu, encouraging diners to use their hands and of course, share with mates. Featuring dishes like Raw Tuna and Black Caviar with Fried Bread and Beef Short-Rib with sticky sauce in lettuce wraps, you can already envision the delicious dining experience that awaits (sans cutlery).
Fresh off a recent renovation, you'll notice the dazzling upgrade perfectly showcases the intimate and inviting atmosphere. It’s also hard not to notice the huge spirit-laden wall on display. With a bar this impressive, you know they’re going to be able to mix you up a mean cocktail (and let us tell you, the proof is in the pudding).
As the sibling of Rice Paper Scissors, you know they’re going to be serving up the goods. It’s hard to pick favourites among the mouth-watering array of Southeast Asian delights, but we can’t go past the Lobster Roll. We repeat, Lobster Roll.
Imagine a buttery, melt in your mouth brioche roll, doused with juicy lobster, burnt nori, salty mustard pickles and the real MVP, Kewpie mayo. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll order a couple of these bad boys… they’re that good.
Not only do they serve up fire lobster rolls, Rice Paper Sister boasts a boss wine list and you can bet they’ll match the hell out of whatever you’re ordering. With a little help from one of their savvy wait staff, we were washing down the Lobster Roll from heaven with the Holm Oak Riesling from Tamar Valley in Tasmania (bliss).
Another thing we love about this place is their commitment to creating a menu that showcases locally sourced ingredients. So, it’s only fitting that for main course, our pick of the pack is the Western Plains BBQ Pork Neck with Spiced Honey. You can smell this beauty from a mile away and we can safely bet you’ll be thinking about this dish long after you leave the restaurant. (It's ok, you can always come back for more.)
Imagine tasty, tender pork drenched in a sweet, sticky, thick and slightly sour sauce (we know, right?). This dish is to die for and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t spoon up every last drop of that liquid gold sauce.
No good meal is complete without a glass of wine and thankfully the hard work is done for you with the restaurant matching the sweet pork dish with the Paringa Estate Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula. We’ve got to be honest, we’re no wine sommelier, but we can safely say these two pair together like Jay Z & Bey.
But what is life without dessert? We’re not messing around when we say you absolutely must, without a doubt, order the hot apple-pie. Prepare for flaky pastry heaven loaded with freshly stewed, tangy, cinnamon apples, drizzled with sweet, sweet butterscotch sauce and delectable coconut ice cream. FYI, this dish is huge, so even the biggest sweet tooth can definitely share between two. (But we're not here to judge.)
It would be rude of us not to mention a good meal deal when we see one, so we thought we should let you know they have an incred $30 Express Lunch that gets you FIVE delish dishes served up in just ONE hour...now that's our kinda lunch break. Another deal too good to pass up is their $49 Chef's selection, complete with all of the Chef's seasonal favourites (and soon to be yours).
Bu what about the bar and epic cocktails, we hear you ask? If you’re looking to start the night off with a bang, go the Lemongrass Tom Collins or the Great Leap Forward. Trust us, we had both.
To finish? Like most, we’re a sucker for an Espresso Martini so we couldn’t pass up the chance to try their Vietnamese take on the classic, made with condensed milk. Yup, we’ll come back just for that heaven in a glass thank you very much.