Grunge, neon lights, Asian street food, water views; Rice Boi has arrived and it’s everything and nothing like you expected.
Opening its doors late last week, this pan-Asian joint wouldn’t be out of place in the back alleyways of Melbourne, and yet it’s us Sunshine Coasters who are the lucky ones getting to call it ours.
Hidden behind two massive red barn-style doors, Rice Boi’s interior is kitted out with red lanterns, cages used as walls, casual tables and stools and an open kitchen where diners can get a glimpse of their food be prepped and plated. To put it bluntly, we got a whole Streetfighter slash Karate Kid-vibe as soon as we stepped inside.
Created by a super-experienced trio of hospitality legends—Tony Kelly (Hello Harry and Junk fame), Elyza Molloy and chef Mitch Smith—the interior is only the wrapping around what is truly one helluva tasty experience.
The menu is bulging with dishes that are super affordable, substantial and so damn delicious you’ll be fighting a constant internal struggle about when is too soon to return for another feast. And, by the way, the answer is: it’s never too soon.
So, where to start? Order the Chicken Sumo Bao, a pillowy bun filled with marinated fried chicken breast, mayo, pickled daikon and a drizzle of red dragon sauce, and it’ll set the tone for the rest of the night. Next up, try the pork and ginger dumplings, edamame and steamed greens, before taking it up a notch, with main-size dishes like the finger-lickin’ Sticky Char Sui Pork, My Ramen (think: chicken karaage, roast chicken broth, buttered corn, egg, nori, spring onion and bamboo) or the Wafu Beef, a tantalising plate of grass-fed beef carpaccio with Japanese flavours, konbu mojo, pickled ginger, daikon, wasabi mayo and dashi chips. Oh baby!
Although you could clearly spend the night here, working your way through plate after plate after plate, Rice Boi is also a spot you could head for a few drinks and sides, before heading on your merry way. Sound like your jam? Make sure you order a cocktail or three, and do not go past the watermelon, rose, Pimms mojito or the Vietnamese Mint; a zingy concoction of gin, Vietnamese mint, club squash and sugar syrup.
Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, if Asian flavours are your Achilles heel, limp on over to Rice Boi, stat.
When: Open seven days, from 11.30am
Where: The Wharf, 123 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba
When you've ticked Rice Boi off the hit list, head next door and check out Saltwater, serving up some of the best fish and chips on the Sunshine Coast.
Image credit: Amy Higg for The Urban List