It’s been over a year since the Rice Den has had an upgrade in location from its previously tiny Chatswood premises to busy Chandos St in St Leonards, just a minute’s walk from the train station.
There’s a massive selection of drinks, and the complimentary bowl of crunchy, golden wonton skins is a great snack to go with whatever you choose.
From the House Made Small Eats section of the menu, the Satay chicken croquettes was packed full of flavour. The filling consisted of chicken floss, instead of chunky pieces, which worked well texturally, and the spicy, punchy, sambal mayonnaise was delicious.
The special Rice Den fried rice was aromatic and the lup cehong and mushrooms always prova a winner in fried rice. It was probably missing the sweetness of peas or corn in it that would have made it an even better dish.
The beef cheek had the flavours of ngau lam. Rich in beefiness and soy, the thick sauce was almost like a gravy. The beef was so tender and soft that chewing was not a necessity – seriously, you don’t need to have teeth to eat this dish.
We ordered one of the off the menu specials, the twice cooked pork belly, which was braised in a soy sauce then fried. The skins was almost crackly, and the fat melting in the mouth, but the meat was a little hard. The sauce was like the beef, thick and salty with the aroma of the fried pork.
For dessert, we couldn’t go past the French toast with dulce de leche, peanut crumble, mascarpone with matcha green tea. It was a delightfully light and not too sweet dish, thanks to the bitter note of the matcha and the refreshingly creamy mascarpone.
The food here isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s high quality ingredients and cooking. I’ll definitely be back to try their other dishes.