As an ‘oriental’, I was intrigued by the concept of an ‘oriental diner’? I mean, what’s ‘oriental’ food exactly?
The menu at Rice Queen appears to cover the gamut of a whole eating continent, from Japanese to Chinese, Sri Lankan to Thai. What this means is that there’s a patchiness in the quality of the food, and you can’t expect the dishes to be very authentic.
The tangy and refreshing green mango salad with crispy fish and cashews ($15) was the most successful dish of the evening. The char kway tweo was passable, with the sloppy noodles doused in dark soy (very unphotogenic) and needing a good kick of seasoning. The least successful dish was the day’s special, a Sri Lankan seafood curry. It was a beautiful looking hot-pot but tasted very bland, with the broth diluted by too many watery tomatoes.
On the plus side, the tropical, almost Hawaiian-tiki vibe to the spacious upper floor restaurant makes it a good location for a gathering with friends. Groups are well served if the diners have different tastes and can’t decide on a cuisine. At a maximum $15 a main, it’s very reasonably priced.