Raffles reviews: Red Lantern on Riley, Surry Hills

green papaya salad at Red Lantern on Riley

When mama told me I could pick anywhere I wanted to go for dinner for a special occasion I knew exactly where I wanted to eat – Red Lantern on Riley. That’s because I love Luke Nguyen because he’s one of my food heroes. That’s not just because he can cook really yummy looking food, but also because he travels all over the place for his TV Show and will eat ANYTHING!

Luke is so brave he even ate a snake on his show but he also ate stuff like salt and pepper prawns and rice paper rolls… which looked a lot tastier. At Red Lantern On Riley, they don’t have snake on the menu. Which I’m kind of relieved about because I don’t know if I’d really want to try that. Instead we ate the most deliciously awesome food which I can’t stop thinking about. 

Firstly you should know that Vietnamese food always uses sweet, salty, sour and hot flavours for balance and there are lots of textures and crunch in the dishes. I love that. Red Lantern on Riley is all about that texture and flavour.

We started with Rice Paper rolls (Cuon Thit Nuong) that were filled with honey pork neck and herbs and were so good that I moaned so loudly while I ate them, my mama had to remind me to be quiet.

Rice Paper rolls with honey pork neck and herbs at Red Lantern on Riley

Then mama and dad had a tangy green papaya salad (Goi Du Du) which I nicked all the prawns and pork belly off. Yum.

The (Goi Chim Cut) was so spicy it made my eyeballs burst and my tongue burst into flame. It was pretty tasty though and its salad had beetroot, carrot, and other crunchy stuff, which was really good. Mama and dad liked this one so much I had to remind them not to moan so loud while they ate it. I’d advise you to have a big glass of icy water beside you if you order this.

Crispy five-spice quail at Red Lantern on Riley

One of my favourite dishes was the chilli-salted squid (Muc Rang Muoi). It had a light batter which was really crispy and delicious and the squid was really tender. OMG!! I could eat a hundred plates of this and still want more.

chilli-salted squid at Red Lantern on Riley

Next was a pancake which I didn’t think sounded very Vietnamese but I was so, so wrong! This wasn’t like any pancake I’ve ever seen before. It (Banh Xeo) was an epic pancake that was crispy instead of soft and chock full of prawns and pork belly and bean sprouts. It also came with fresh lettuce leaves and herbs like mint to eat with it… so good!

Banh Xeo Vietnamese pancakes at Red Lantern on Riley

For mains we had spatchcock (Ga Goi Chien Don) which had really crispy skin and sauce that was made from ginger and sesame and was totally yum. The spatchcock was like really awesome chicken. It was very soft and fell apart in my mouth and the flavours were the best.

Ga Goi Chien Don - Thirlmere Spatchcock at Red Lantern on Riley

The other main was salmon (Ca Kho), which is my favourite fish ever. The menu said it was served with caramel which sounded kinda gross but they didn’t mean actual caramel.

SAlmon with caramel, chilli and black pepper at Red Lantern on Reilly


It was a little sweet and sticky but it also had chilli and black pepper which made it explode with flavour. Oh yeah!!! My sister stole most of the little crunchy crackers that came with it and my mama didn’t even get to taste it because my dad and I attacked it like two lions fighting over their prey. It was that good. (allegedly).

The staff were super nice to me and even let me sneak a peak into the kitchen. Red Lantern on Riley was so, so, so fantastic that I left high-kicking like a ninja.

Red Lantern on Riley

I’m going to have to drag mama back here for lunch during the next school holidays so I can eat this all over again. 

Reviewed by Raffles – Aged 7
(bracketed comments by his mama)

Red Lantern on Riley
60 Riley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: 02 9698 4355

Note: This meal was independently paid for.

10 Comments on Raffles reviews: Red Lantern on Riley, Surry Hills

  1. Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella
    May 29, 2015 at 10:18 am (9 years ago)

    Great review as always Raffles! I really like it there too 🙂 BTW did you see my post yesterday about the dumplings? 🙂

      May 30, 2015 at 10:59 pm (9 years ago)

      Just saw it and loved it,thanks Lorraine. We’re in Japan so haven’t been online much!

  2. Kyla James
    June 3, 2015 at 8:53 am (9 years ago)

    One of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. Great review Raffles. x

      June 3, 2015 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

      Thanks Kyla. It’s one of my favourites too

  3. Bronnie - Maid In Australia
    June 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks sooooo good Raffles. I would like to take my kids there. My daughter doesn’t like prawns or squid, so my son and I would get to eat those dishes. She likes chicken and duck, so maybe she would go for the spatchcock, it looks yummy. I think we would all probably moan a bit when we are eating because we don’t get food like this in the country!

      June 13, 2015 at 11:21 pm (9 years ago)

      It sounds like you could share it all out Bronnie. x

  4. Anna
    July 11, 2015 at 7:45 pm (9 years ago)

    Awesome Review of one of my favourite places Raffles

  5. stuntman
    July 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm (9 years ago)

    Nice ninja moves at the end there dude!

      July 14, 2015 at 4:27 pm (9 years ago)

      THanks! I do kung fu lessons Rx

  6. Mr Eatsworld
    July 15, 2015 at 8:24 am (9 years ago)

    That chilli-salted squid was just amazing. Just the right amount of heat to make the taste buds dance.


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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