In Morocco, a ‘riad’ is a large traditional house built around a central courtyard or garden. That central space is usually a focal point where family and friends meet up to relax and enjoy food and drink, often feasting on shared platters.

Owner of the new Riad Mezze Restaurant Dessert and Wine Bar (yes, it’s quite a mouthful!) on Unley Road, Chrissie Pongracz and husband David have been inspired by their travels and their love of shared plates, or mezze-style family dining. It’s their first foray into hospitality and they wanted to offer diners a Mediterranean-inspired experience, engaging young local chef Simon Mawson who’s created a full menu of starters, tapas, mains and desserts.

As you can guess from the name, it’s the kind of place you can go for a full meal or just pop in for a glass of wine or one of the many desserts. It’s a decent size space and comes complete with a private dining room and a courtyard.

It was a Saturday night and we were looking forward to seeing what Riad had to offer. We started with half a dozen Oysters in Moroccan batter with fresh orange. I usually only eat my oysters natural but it was a cold night and these sounded appealing (and were also recommended by our waitress Kim) – and they were good! Cooked in a really light and crispy batter and the piece of orange on top worked – off to a good start. I couldn’t help but think that perhaps I should have ordered more of them! But no, there were plenty of other things we needed to try.

The Garlic mushroom and Brie arancini with sweet chilli jam were next cab off the rank. A generous size with a thin crunchy coating and a tasty filling. The chilli jam was a little too sweet for my liking, but my partner enjoyed it (he’s such a sweet tooth). I always find it a bit of a risk ordering salt and pepper squid, but I thought we’d put Chef Simon to the test and his Salt and pepper baby squid with lemon and lime aioli didn’t disappoint. Lightly floured and perfectly salted (I’ve had some dreadful over-salty versions in my time!).

The Warmed sumac spiced beetroot with toasted pine nuts and crispy sage went really well with the ‘Sultan’s Delight’ – Turkish braised lamb with smoked, spiced aubergine mash. We absolutely loved that aubergine mash – a perfect combo of smoky and creamy.

From the mains, we chose the Goolwa pipi and chorizo hot pot in a lemon and white wine cream sauce, served with Turkish bread. Nothing short of delicious. I could easily have eaten more of this. That sauce was incredible!

And, to round out the experience, we had to finish off with dessert. Kim recommended the Deconstructed lemon meringue pie with candied citrus, passionfruit coulis, white chocolate powder and vanilla bean icecream. We were very happy with this choice – it looked beautiful and we polished it off with great delight!

Well done to Chef Simon – there wasn’t one dish that we didn’t enjoy, and thanks to the Riad team for a really enjoyable Saturday night. The food’s well presented and the service friendly. Riad Mezze Restaurant Dessert and Wine Bar is definitely worth a visit.


Riad Restaurant & Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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