It’s an extremely eclectic cafe, which I walked past on my way home from Richmond Sushi and decided to come back and try. It’s bright, has lots of seating, and has the same young, floral + pastel décor scheme as many bubble tea houses. The two servers who helped me were incredibly friendly.
The owners of Le Riz were bang-on when they decided to use the word ‘fusion’ in their restaurant title, because the menu is a mashup of all sorts of Chinese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, and North American snacks and meals, so it’s just the place to go if one friend craves French fries and another wants curried beef brisket.
You can have it. You can have it all. It’s quick, there’s plenty to choose from, and the people are nice. The downside is the quality isn’t outstanding.
When I arrived at Le Riz for dinner, I was starving. So starving, in fact, that as soon as I spotted buttered pineapple bun ($1.95) and roti canai ($3.95) on the menu, I ordered them both as appetizers.
I’m not sure if anyone’s let you in on this little secret, but white, sugar-topped butter sandwiches are the opposite of vegetables, hence my description of this meal as a ‘relapse.’ Was it worth it, despite the lack of nutritional benefits for my holiday food-weary bod? Of COURSE it was – it’s a butter sandwich, for pete’s sake. The pineapple bun wasn’t as good as Lido’s, but this thing was still really good.
Because I so rarely order rice-based dishes and was really in the mood, I had the ginger chicken fried rice ($6.99) as my main. I also ordered the pan-fried turnip cakes with XO sauce, but they never arrived. By the time I was halfway through my carb-fest, I was too full to bother about asking for them.
The rice was basic, filling, and indeed had a very gingery flavour, but it was on the greasy side. I think if I were to return to Le Riz, I would do so to share snacks with friends (consider it fast food Asian tapas), but not necessarily their entrees.
Or their Ovaltine! This just tasted like weak hot chocolate. Still, the downsides were forgivable simply because the staff was so nice.
Now, having described a meal that included not one hint of green, I feel it’s my duty to at least talk about vegetables. It’s also the perfect excuse to share this beautiful website I came across yesterday, called Green Kitchen Stories. Not only are the site’s design and photographs gorgeous, but so is the food! It looks perfectly delicious and perfectly healthy – just right for the day I stop eating pineapple buns with fried bread for dinner. Here’s one of their recipes I plan on making first – isn’t it a vision?
Winter Millet Salad from Green Kitchen Stories
1 cup (240 ml) raw millet (any color will work)
1 butternut squash
100 g raw hazelnuts
2 avocados, diced
1 small romanesco broccoli, broke into bite-size florets
2 handfuls purple grapes, cut in half
2 handfuls green leaves, we used beetroot leaves 1 pomegranate, seeds
Chunky Herb Dressing
1 handful basil, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
Prepare the butternut by trimming off the top and bottom and cutting it in half crosswise and lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and remove the tough peel with a sharp knife or a peeler. Cut into 1 x 1-inch (2 x 2 cm) dices. Place on an oven tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt. Bake on 400 F° (200°C) for 20-30 minutes or until soft and slightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
The last 10 minutes of baking time, place the hazelnuts on a separate baking tray, sprinkle with salt and toast until skin cracks and is browned. Remove and let cool slightly, rub between a rough cloth or kitchen towel to remove the skin. Chop coarsely.
Rinse the millet in a sieve with boiling water, then place in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let gently simmer for 10-15 minutes or until soft and the water is gone.
Prepare the avocados, romanesco, grapes, green leaves and pomegranate and Herb Dressing. Place the cooked millet in a large bowl, add the herb dressing and mix with your hands to make sure all millet is coated with dressing. Add all ingredients to the millet mixture and gently fold to combine. Serve!