The Rice Den - St Leonards

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This place came into my mind when I was planning for a dinner catch up with our long lost friend. Serving modern Cantonese-inspired dishes, The Rice Den was previously located in Chatswood but now they have moved to a larger and more sophisticated place in St Leonards. 

The place was already packed with people when we arrived although it was still around 6.30pm. Inside was buzzing and modernly decorated with stylish timber cabinets, hanging birdcages and chinoiserie wallpaper. 

Hand Made Cheong Fun, Peanut Sesame, Hoisin Sauce
I always think that Cheong Fun or Rice Noodle Roll is not the easiest thing to make, hence when I see it on their menu, there's no way I'd miss it! LOL! The texture is soft, silky and slippery, it is moist and hold its shape with the right chewiness. Served with hoisin sauce, it had a bit of sweetness that goes so well with the creamy nutty punch of the peanut sauce (it tastes like peanut butter for me!)

This Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Spanner Crab Mung Bean Noodles is the highlight and definitely my favorite dish. The noodle is so delicate and thin, the sauce is intensely flavoured with spices and the crispy soft shell crab adds the natural crunch element to make this dish even more complex and yet so addicting. 

Tea Smoked Chicken Salad with Rice Sheets, Peanut Sesame and Soy Dressing, Chinkiang Vinegar
Grilling, baking, frying, steaming are all common ways to cook chicken, but how about tea-smoking? Well, I love drinking tea and for sure I have a special spot in my heart when it's used in cooking!

The smoky character of the chicken blends beautifully with the fresh and crisp shredded cabbage. The addition of rice sheet slices make it look more appetizing and the dressing sauce has that sweet and savory hint of peanut and sesame soy flavour but the refreshing sourness of Chinkiang vinegar dominates the flavour in overall.

Slow Braised Chu Hou Beef Cheek with Kohlrabi, Baby Carrot and Corn
This Cantonese style Braised Beef Cheek is quite different compared to the usual as they use Chu Hou sauce, it reminds me the taste of fermented soy bean paste (tauchu) with licorice-y anise flavour. The beef cheek is meltingly tender and braised into perfection drawing in all the sweetness and flavours from the added spices.

Canton Style Barbeque Pork Neck with Mollases and Honey Glaze
Char Siew shall not be missed whenever you are having Cantonese feast. That finished slab of roasty and sweet Barbeque Pork Neck is juicy and tender, not overly fatty yet satisfyingly meaty. It's just a matter of preference but I'd like this even more if the skin was slightly more charred.

Vanilla Coconut Cream Sago, Fresh Passionfruit Pulp, Macadamia Almond Meal Crumble
Hong Kong Milk Tea Creme Brulee with Wafer Crisps
Moving on to the desserts, Vanilla Coconut Cream Sago is perfect if you prefer light dessert with palate-refreshing flavours as they have fresh passionfruit pulp at the bottom. The macadamia crumble on top also adds a delicious crunch and extra texture as you start digging with your spoon. On the other hand, their rich Hong Kong Milk Tea Brulee is so creamy and soft with a not too sweet but strongly flavoured custard filling and crisp caramelised sugar on top. 

French Toast Dulce De Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with Matcha Green Tea
My favorite dessert is their French Toast Dulce de Leche! It's browned and crispy on the outside while rich and creamy on the inside without being too eggy and soggy. The Dulce de Leche works as a special treat to the usual sugar sweetened toast and garnished with peanut crumble and mascarpone with a little bit of matcha dust on top.

The Rice Den
30-32 Chandos St, St Leonards 
Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Thursday 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 9.30pm
Friday 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 11pm
Saturday 5.30pm - 11pm
Sunday 11.30am - 3pm, 5pm - 9pm
Closed on Monday
The Rice Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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