11 Apr Rice Workshop, Melbourne CBD
I finally made it to Rice Workshop after wanting to try it before it even opened. Marketed as a rice bar, their main offerings are rice bowls with various toppings (beef, chicken, curry and salmon), however, they also do a few udon and salad dishes. You can pick other sides to go with your meal including miso soup, takoyaki, edamame, karaage, spring rolls, tempura and daifuku. These are kept in a warm cabinet and a chilled cabinet between the ordering station and the cashier. There’s also a complete DIY option where you just get a bowl of rice at the ordering station, then choose toppings from the self-serve area and pay according to what you’ve chosen.
Service is fast and efficient, working a bit like a canteen: after ordering I received my rice bowl on a tray, which could be slid along the bench, past the self-serve cabinets, to the cashier. After paying there’s a small area where I could collect cutlery, chopsticks, serviettes, water, take-away lids and a wide variety of condiments and seasonings. As well as the ground-floor seating, there’s an upstairs dining area that doesn’t feel quite as hectic.
The warm options looked quite enticing given the grey, gloomy weather Melbourne has been experiencing for the last week, but in the end I had the ontama salmon – zuke-style marinated salmon, nori and soft-boiled egg. Zuke is a soy-based preparation originally used to help preserve food. I was hoping for a bit more nori for some extra variety in texture and flavour (there wasn’t much), but it was still a simple yet satisfying dish. The contrast between the warm, runny egg and the cold salmon was a little odd at first, but the egg became slightly warmed by the heat from other ingredients. Rice Workshop is certainly a good option if you need a quick and filling meal. Large serves are available for $1-1.50 more and the bowl looked huge!
Rice Workshop will be opening another store at the new Emporium complex next week – great news for hungry shoppers!
238 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9650 6663