Review: Rice Paper

What do you get when you combine cheap prices, cool graphics, and pho? Some may guess a communication design students dream, I say, Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant (which in some ways could mean the same thing).

The little restaurant only joined the ranks of the many outstanding restaurants that are scattered down Swanston Street a few years ago. From what I can tell, it recently had a face-lift. It rid itself of the original Asian artwork and photographs and instead has covered the walls with minimal, canvass posters that work as advertisements, reminding customers of what can be found on the menu. And it's new look has worked, as this look has captured the interest of many university students in the area, as well as my dad and I (who are both graphic aesthetic nuts).
My order: sugar cane prawn with vermicelli - the perfect meal to combat the heat, as it was really refreshing and I couldn't get enough of that sugar cane prawn. 
Knowing we were both going to be free in the city in the afternoon, my dad and I planned to finally try this place out. It just happened to be 35 degrees, so the restaurant was a welcomed haven to escape the heat.
Dad's order: chicken noodle soup (came with a plate of bean sprouts) - the pho reminded him of when he was younger and used to get 5$ pho for dinner with his friends from a place called "phongers". He said this was much better. 
The menu is simultaneously interesting and simple, with options ranging from noodle soup (pho), rice dishes, vermicelli, all with beef, chicken, pork, prawn and vegetable varieties, and all reasonably priced. If you aren't interested in having a full meal, you can sit down and order some rice paper rolls, or order them from the booth at the front of the restaurant on-the-go. You can also order coconut juice or a Vietnamese beer with your order (either would've been fitting considering how hot it was).
These posters adorned the walls - these crisp and minimal graphics made the restaurant aesthetically pleasing whilst giving an insight into some of the goodies available on the menu. 
The rice paper roll menu really grabbed my attention, especially the soft shell crab and avocado option, and I made a mental note to come back and try some of them out - I would be the last to dispute the listing compiled by CNN Go in 2011, which ranks rice paper rolls at number 30 on World's 50 most delicious foods. Rice paper rolls all come with a selection of 4 complimentary sauces including hoisin and satay.

Another poster detailing the rice paper roll options - trying all of them is a mission for another day. 
The food was prepared quickly (although that may have been because we had missed the lunch rush and the place was relatively quiet), the servings were generous, and the food tasted fresh. It was the kind of food my dad and I enjoy - a simple meal you can eat and enjoy, whilst having a nice conversation with the person you're with.

Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant
245 Swanston Street, Melbourne
9650 3088

Mon - Thurs: 10am to 10pm
Fri - Sat: 10am to 11pm
Sun: 10am to 10pm


Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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