The Rice Den
By Renae Smith
The Rice Den is a fantastic new restaurant in St Leonards that is already making waves in the Sydney food scene. Think you’ve heard the name before? Correct! The Rice Den was previously located in Chatswood where it made its mark as a super popular eatery/takeaway venue. The owners closed down Chatswood and relocated to Chandos Street, St Leonards where they’ve been reincarnated into a very contemporary, sophisticated venue with a ‘farm-to-table’ ethos.
The cuisine is traditionally Cantonese in style but has been given a very modern and inventive twist. Head chefs Nelson Cheng and Roy Chan have created a spectrum of dishes that are inventive but pay homage to their homeland.
From the moment you sit down, the house made pickles set the tone for the quality of food you’re about to enjoy. The mixed wild mushroom pancake is beyond delicious (vegetarian) and the scallop and prawn sui mai are made to perfection - light, full of flavour and melt in your mouth good. The tea smoked chicken salad with rice sheets topped with a sesame and soy dressing is a must have – for those of the vegetarian genre, there’s a chicken free version just for you and it’s divine! Sweet tooth? You HAVE to try the Ovaltine pannacotta or my favourite dish of the evening, the French toast with dulce de leche, peanut crumble and mascarpone.
The open kitchen and bar concept invites patrons to be “part of the show”, allowing you to watch the preparation and execution of each menu item. The clean, yet oriental inspired interior is a well thought out collaboration between a collaboration between Rita Cheung, Roy Chan and Morris Selvatico and reflects the style of menu perfectly – traditional Canton, but with very modern influences.
Must have: French Toas