Hi there! I'm Sammie, a Malaysian who's a lover of unicorns, bargains and adventures.
Published May 15th 2013
Le Riad transports you to Morocco
I have never, ever tried Moroccan cuisine before. Not even couscous. So when I heard of a Moroccan restaurant in town, I was pretty excited to get my tastebuds educated in Moroccan flavours. Le Riad restaurant promised to give an authentic experience and I was hoping they'd deliver.
Entering the restaurant felt like I had just stepped into another continent. Colourful cloth covered the entire restaurant and cloaked it with an aura of mystery while similar cloth hangings were draped across the ceiling alongside the enchanting lantern pieces that decorated the centre of the ceilings. The dim lighting of the room helped to offset what would otherwise be garish, tacky and over-the-top decor. There was even a tiny fountain by the side of the wall; one that was actually running!
Well for what it's worth, the whole ambience of the restaurant really got me in the mood for some exotic cuisine and I gladly perused the menu in front of me. As I mentioned earlier, I'm at a total blank when it comes to Moroccan food so words like 'tajine' and 'machwiya' had my head spinning as I tried to make out what I was ordering. Luckily the sole waitress of the restaurant was there to help me out and she gave me a few recommendations.
We decided to start off with some dips. Apparently the most popular dip option was the 'taktooka,' roasted capsicum, tomatoes, garlic, black pepper with coriander and chilli powder. It was served alongside with this really thin, crispy bread. I really liked the bread; it had this great fragrant flavour that was a delight to eat. The dip, not so much. Honestly, it tasted like salsa. I'm not sure if that's what it was supposed to taste like but that's what it tasted like to me.
The meatball tajine had lean meatballs simmering in a spicy tomato, onion, garlic and herb sauce. My partner and I both liked the meatballs (who doesn't like meatballs?) but we felt that the sauce fell a bit short. We were expecting something really flavourful but to be honest, it just felt like regular tomato sauce.
I was quite excited to try couscous, since it is after all one of Moroccan's famous dishes. We ordered the lamb couscous. I really liked the texture of the couscous. The lamb was really great; it was so soft and tender. Once again however, I didn't really get a lot of flavour. It was all a bit bland. The use of tomato was really strong in all the dishes and so everything kind of tasted the same.
It took a really long time for both our entrees and our mains to come out. I'm guessing it's due to both the large table next to ours that ordered just before us, and also to the lack of staff. We waited a good half hour before we got our dip and another half hour for our mains to come out. I'm also not particularly impressed with the portion size based on what you're paying for it; Le Riad is rather expensive once you take that into account. It was a fun experience to try Moroccan cuisine, but I'm not so sure whether I'll be back for more at Le Riad.
Samantha I recommend Marrakech on King William Road! I haven't been there in years but from what I remember it was very good. I was recently in Morocco so I need to go back to Marrakech to compare it's authenticity :P
Le Riad also have a resident bellydancer on Saturday nights. I went there with a group last year. The food was good, but the service very slow. We waited half an hour after the dips arrived before the bread to eat them with appeared. I also found the lighting much too dim - I like to be able to see my food!