The resistance to brothy soup is weak in this one.
A good friend swung a recommendation to visit Rice Paper for their salads – however, I don’t make friends with salad and I opted to sample the pho – a true test of any Vietnamese restaurant. Rice Paper is a good option on the barren land that is Swanston St dining options. Boldly situated near Mekong, whose pho has been severely lacking the past few visits, Rice Paper has a greater variety in the dishes they serve. The interior of Rice Paper is also far more impressive, with exposed brick walls, quirky designed posters urging one to order a Cafe Sua, and at the time of visit – the necessary tacky Christmas decorations – yet to be yanked down.
The ordering system uses a checklist where you write down what you want, how many and hand up the small clipboard to a nearby waiter. I actually have a dislike to this method of ordering – it’s confusing for all those involved, especially because my handwriting looks like I graduated from Med School with Honours. After some back and fourth deciphering of the order, 2 bowls of chicken & beef pho were ordered.
The pho’s broth was delicately light, with more a herb than beef base. The accompaniments were all the usual suspects – Sriracha, beansprouts, thai basil and hoisin. The rice noodles veered on the gluggy side of the spectrum which was a slight disappointment.
Overall, it was a pretty decent bowl of pho for the price and the location. Whilst there are certainly better pho options around the CBD, I would return to try Rice Paper’s other dishes such as the combination Bun.