How are you coping with this winters weather? I went away in the coldest month of July and enjoyed quite a bit of China’s dessert. Tina and I went on annual leave and toured the western dessert part of China with some camping in the dry dessert. It is a fascinating tour indeed but towards the final few days, I’ve already counting my days back. To be honest, it is so great to be back home in Adelaide. Life is a non-stopping journey but sometimes you may realise, not matter where you go, home is always the best nest for the bird. 🙂
Back on to our topic, winter is not over yet. How do you coping with this cold weather? Some hot, spicy and tasty food, of course! I recently discovered a new eatery on Unley road – Raid, Mezze Restaurant and Wine Bar.
You may have heard there was a good dessert and wine bar place. That’s Riad. They have opened the venue for lunch and dinner. Headed by Chef Simon, Riad specialise in Mediterranean cuisines and has an extensive food, wine and dessert menu. When I say extensive, it does mean extensive! When I first saw the menu, hoo… You do need someone with good knowledge of the dishes to guide you through it. Fortunately, the Venue Manager, Eden has got the professionalism in hospitality and has done a great job on our night!
The venue consists of the front dinning area, a function room and a beer garden. I still remember back in 2009, Adelaide had merely any beer garden left but since then, they seemed to come back. I love these gardens. It is certainly a place to catch up with friends, having a couple of drinks and to share the ins and outs in life. I expect to see what this beer garden at Riad would transform into during summer time. It must be glorious!
Riad is also a supporter of SALA and they have artworks by local artists on display. If you feel like taking one home, they are available for purchase.
The quiet and cosy atmosphere of Riad is very attracting to someone, like me, who does not like two much disturbance and who likes the sophisticated feeling. At 7 pm ish each day, an old gentleman will arrive at the venue to play music. It’s a great experience. Having the interesting and tasting dishes with a sip of wine while some classic music is on, to me, is such a treat!
Now, let’s talking about the most important thing in a restaurant, food! As I said, our dinner was guided through by Eden so instead of entree/small plate, we started off with some seafood – scallops and oysters. 🙂
Scallops infused in a Fresh Lemon & Chilli Salsa (GF) & Scallops infused in a White Wine & Garlic Butter (GF)
Seriously, Tina and I got amazed by these two dishes! The scallops were so delicate in flavour and soft and tender in the mouth. The Scallops infused in a Fresh Lemon & Chilli Salsa (bottom in the top picture) had balanced acidity and not-so-hot flavour and I was able to taste a hint of sweetness from the scallop. The other scallop showed good buttery flavour with garlic on the nose and creaminess on the palate. Great work!
One set of scallops obviously initiated my appetite, so we continued with oysters. Fried oysters!
Oysters in Moroccan Batter with Fresh Orange
We don’t normally see deep fried oysters in Australia. In Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, this seems to be quite common. This deep fried oyster dish really got my vote! The oysters were hidden away in the crispy and crunchy batter, seasoned with slight spices and every bite gave me a good ‘wow’ factor. 🙂 The use of orange was a highlight. It balanced the oiliness from the deep-frying with the slight acidity and sweetness from the orange, making the dish very tasty with fresh oyster flavour on the palate! Nice!
You may have wondered what the sausage in the above photo is. It is one of Riad’s Share Plate, Sucuk!
Sucuk – A mildly spiced Turkish Sausage char grilled with Tomato & Green Onion.
Sucuk, pronounced as sujuk, is a type of Turkish sausage. I quite liked it. The flavour was somewhat similar to chorizo, but not quite. It was intermediate spicy and went down really well with the crispy bread in the bowl. I took a bite of the sausage with the crispy bread and the crunchiness definitely lifted the whole experience to a totally different level. Recommended!
Obviously with the sharing plates, one would not get us fully filled so I went on with three more of them. I guess this is the advantage of sharing plates as it allows people to taste different dishes of a restaurant. I must say all of the sharing plates I tried were great in flavour!
Sultan’s Delight (Hünkar Beğendi) (GF option) – A Turkish traditionally spiced & braised Lamb Ottoman Dish served on a Smoked & Spiced Aubergine Mash.
The set in the right part of the top picture is Sultan’s Delight. It had several component, braised lamb, a mash and bread. The Turkish traditionally spiced and braised lamb ottoman (shown below) was a great lamb stew to me. The chunky lamb pieces were fully flavoured and immersed within the sauce, making the meat tasting so great! It is moderately spiced and the meat was moist to melt-in-the-mouth! What we did to enjoy the dish was that we spread the lamb on the charred bread and topped with the Mash. That experience was unforgettable! The crunchiness of the bread improved the mouthfeel of the lamb pieced and the jus from the meat were sucked by the bread so it gave a two-way complement, not to mention that the mash was quite unique in its sense. The smoked and spiced aubergine mash was something quite attracted me. This mash was quite sticky and chewy. On its own, I did not taste too much spiciness but once combined with the lamb, the mash enhanced the overall flavour a lot. Highly recommended!
Arancini – Truffle infused arancini balls stuffed with Parmesan and baby spinach served with house made chilli jam
This is one of the best arancini balls I ever had. The soft and creamy texture inside the balls was already delicate but the crunchy cover has taken this dish to a higher level! The balls can be enjoyed on its own or you can try their chilli dipping jam. I prefer the latter as it made the dish like having risotto with chilli sauce. This really improves the appetite!
After the tapas, we moved on to the two meaty main dishes.
Moroccan Chicken – BBQ Moroccan chicken tenderloins with a strawberry and orange salad with a mango dressing and spicy yoghurt
These grilled chicken strips are second to none! Normally a chicken breast piece would be a bit dry after panfrying or chargrilling. However, the chicken in this dish was quite tender and moist. The addition of oranges, spinach and spicy yoghurt are highlights of the dish. The oranges provided the acidity and freshness while the yogurht improved the flavour of the chicken dramatically. The spiciness, the mouthwatering meat and the refreshing fruits made a great Moroccan painting. Great choice!
Until this point, we were a bit full but still craved for more tasty food to come. Our next main is the lamb backstrap.
Lamb Backstrap – Baharat marinated lamb back strap served atop of fresh fennel and carrot salad with grated beetroot and feta cheese and red wine jus.
When this lamb dish came out, we were able to smell it from miles away. It was just so great! The meat was charred to perfection with redness in the centre and the outside was tender and full of flavours. The red wine just was a highlight to enhance the flavour of the lamb while the carrots were delicious and beautifully presented. The lamb had a strong charcoal grilled flavour no the nose but on palate it was enriched with lamb fragrance. Highly recommended dish!
I normally don’t eat dessert, but for a restaurant that also specialise in dessert, it is almost impossible to us to refuse a variety of desserts. You have to try these delicacies out to believe yourself. They are absolutely soooooooooooo good!!!!! The ice cream, the pavlova and mango egg are so delicious that even a person, like myself, who does not normally eat sweet stuff, is attracted to them. They are not overly sweet but has the freshness and appropriate sweetness that a good dessert should have. Top rated desserts!
Overall, Tina and I quite enjoyed the food at the venue as well as the desserts. The service at the venue was quite good and is very attentive. The Chef Simon described his dishes as not a single culture origin but they are more Mediterranean regional cuisine. You won’t find this vast range cuisines in one place in Adelaide easily. The extensive menu, wine list and desserts are very unique in the state indeed!
66 Unley Road
Unley, SA 5061
P 08 7225 8300