Post image for When my baby smiles at me we go to Ria

When my baby smiles at me we go to Ria

August 25, 2010 · 74 comments

Firstly, apologies for probably just putting Peter Allen in your head but I’ve spent today (edit: back when I originally started writing this overdue post, anyway) with two equally catchy and random songs competing for space in my brain – Rock Me Dr Zaius and Werewolf Bar Mitzvah – so things could be worse for you. Although, I’ve probably just put these in your head too. Sorry. Hopefully the photos of my recent meal at Ria in Leederville will distract you. If not, then just imagine Hugh Jackman as Peter Allen and perhaps he can do a better job of distracting you, if that’s your thing.

My friend J and I had been planning to catch up over a meal at Malaysian restaurant Ria in Leederville for a long time but my travels and our combined lack of piles o’ cash meant that it was a long time coming. Finally however, we managed to get ourselves organised and met our other friends L and K at Ria for a nice dinner to end the working week.

Wine and alcoholic ginger beer (on tap) were ordered soon after arrival and we started to peruse the menu. Following suggestion from our waitress we decided to share two entrees between the four of us, choosing the “grilled squid skewers with acar (pickle) and chilli jam $17.00″ and then finding ourselves unable to go past the “Ria pork rib nibbles in caramelised chilli sauce $15.50″. I mean, nibbles? They were asking for it.

For our mains we knew for sure that we would order the “Mum’s loh ak (braised caramelised duck) $23.00″. We also followed J’s suggestion and chose the “Portuguese baked fish on a banana leaf spiced predominantly with chilli and dried shrimps $19.00″ and then thought we’d try the special which I can’t recall the full name of, but was a chicken rendang. We really wanted the “kangkong with sambal $14.50″ as well, but as warned in the menu this is seasonal and we were out of luck on this night. We instead chose the “eggplant salad with tomatoes, fresh herbs and steamed vegetables $14.50″, steamed rice ($2 per serve) and four serves of roti ($2.50 each).

Grilled squid skewers with acar (pickle) and chilli jam $17.00

The grilled skewers were tender, tasty and well complemented by the acar and chilli jam, although the jam could have been hotter. I thought this was a nice way to serve squid, getting around the danger of trying to bite a massive ring in half, finding it to be too rubbery to do so, then having to shove the entire thing in your mouth while carrying on the conversation. Although, having said that, I guess it would be as difficult to talk with one of these pieces jammed in your mouth.

Ria pork rib nibbles in caramelised chilli sauce $15.50

The rib nibbles were a table-wide hit. Very moreish and far too easy to eat with the meat coming straight off the bone.  Again the chilli sauce was not very hot, but was delicious nonetheless, and our plates were soon baring the clean bone evidence of many an enjoyed nibble.

Mum's loh ak (braised caramelised duck) $23.00

The loh ak is as smokily flavourful as it looks. It is cooked with bone in and skin on, which makes it a little fiddly to eat if you’re a fatphobe like me but no doubt does wonders for the overall flavour. Not every piece was fall-off-the-bone tender, but none of it could be called tough so perhaps I’m just nitpicking. Overall it was a great dish and enjoyed by us all.

The special for the night - chicken rendang

The chicken rendang special was disappointing. If it were called a chicken curry or something then perhaps we would have had more praise for it, but we thought it to be too sweet and wet for our expectations of a rendang. It did not help that K is a rendang aficionado, and we were left wishing we were eating one of his creations instead. For what it was though, it had a good flavour and a generous amount of very tender chicken, and we ended up mostly finishing it all.

Portugese baked fish on a banana leaf spiced predominantly with chilli and dried shrimps $19.00

The Portugese baked fish dish was delicious. Tender, flaky fish generously coated in a thick, aromatic sauce. We all agreed that it was not deserving of the three stars it was given in the menu, denoting it to be HOT, but this didn’t stop us from happily eating it all. There needs to be some sort of standardisation of the heat symbol in menus. Most of the time you find yourself disappointed by the level of heat, and so I tend towards the hot dishes when after something with a kick, but then occasionally this bites you in the arse (almost literally) when a restaurant is actually accurate in their heat level symbol usage.

Eggplant salad with tomatoes, fresh herbs and steamed vegetables $14.50

The eggplant salad really tasted just how it looks. A nice accompaniment to the meat based dishes, with a good selection of vegetable types, but not terribly exciting and somewhat lacking in seasoning. Hopefully kangkong is available next time.

Roti - $2.50 each

What’s not to like about fresh roti? Crispy on the outside, soft layers on the inside. Perfect to scoop up little mouthfuls of food or to make sure you don’t leave too much tasty sauce on your plate. I would have liked these to be bigger, but I’m a pig so this is unsurprising.

To sum up the food experience, it was great. Deborah Ting, co-owner with husband Richard Serrano, is Malaysian and seemingly knows how to pack flavour into her dishes. I am too ignorant to say whether or not the menu is authentically Malaysian, and have heard some people criticise the food here for not being so, but I am not too troubled by this if the food tastes good and is presented well. While some of the dishes could have been improved as mentioned, everything was more than enjoyable and we happily almost cleaned the plates, poking it in until we were heaving and completely unable to bear the thought of dessert.

The service at Ria is bound to entertain, for better or worse. L and K arrived before J and I, and apparently were received in a quite disparaging manner by the male owner, which I hear is no great surprise. We were then served by three different female servers over the course of the night, and they were all lovely but our main server was most memorable with her boisterously friendly chattiness, strong German accent, seemingly dozens of pens jammed into her pocket, and almost flustered yet somehow also effective serving and clearing style that would have been off-putting if not for her infectious enthusiasm.

Not so endearing was the table of cacklers sitting next to us. Why must some people laugh so deafeningly? They also seem to be the people who have no quality control with their humour appreciation and laugh at everything.

If you want to be annoying everyone else at Ria with your irritating laugh, I would very strongly recommend you book in advance. I have tried a number of times to eat there at short notice, and have never had success in securing a table.

Our meal, not including drinks, ended up being around $30/head for entrées and mains.

Ria

Address:                  106 Oxford Street, Leederville 6007
Phone:                      08 9328 2998
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30pm – 10pm
Service:                    Dine in or takeaway, reservations highly recommended
We paid:                   ~$30/head for entrées and mains

Ria on Urbanspoon

TwitterStumbleUponGoogle BookmarksFacebookShare

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam August 25, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Great reivew. I have a sudden craving for pork ribs now.
Pam´s last blog post ..Bacon- Egg- Sharp Cheddar Bagel Sandwich

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:23 am

Thanks Pam! Me too, and I only just ate breakfast.

Reply

5 Star Foodie August 26, 2010 at 1:15 am

I would love a taste of those nibbles, yum!
5 Star Foodie´s last blog post ..5 Star Makeover- Coconut Jelly

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:24 am

I think just having a couple of orders of those, some roti and a beer would be a good dinner!

Reply

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 26, 2010 at 6:27 am

Hehe Conor, what are you doing to my head with those songs? :P Most of those dishes look great and rib nibbles? Oh my, I’m SO there! :o
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog post ..Turkish Fig Pudding

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

Haha sorry Lorraine! I know, I’m cruel, but a song shared is a song halved, right? Or maybe a song shared is a song dueted. All together now!

Reply

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz August 26, 2010 at 7:03 am

You know, not being Aussie I do know who Peter Allan is but I do not know the songs…how ever you can put Hugh Jackman ANYWHERE on me you like hehe :-P I don’t care if he is singing musical scores.

Oh yeah, back to the food. Looks like an over great meal except for just a couple of misses.
Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz´s last blog post ..Import-Export – Unique Cooking Theatre

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

One serve of Hugh Jackman coming right up, Evelyne! I’ll ask for the musical scores to be served on the side, you can just add some if you’re feeling so inclined :)

Reply

jess August 26, 2010 at 7:40 am

Roti is the amazing, I can understand why you wanted it bigger, I would have too :)
jess´s last blog post ..Canberra&8217s sweet suprise

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Well, if we go here together Jess we can order two serves each and be confident that the other won’t be judgemental ;)

Reply

Hannah August 26, 2010 at 7:58 am

There’s nowhere for George, and his library, or the son with his gun to beloooooooong…… except in this sooooooooong…. (Okay, so I actually love this song. I was singing it out loud the whole time I was reading this post.)

That baked fish looks o-mazing, and I want acar. Just some rice and acar and I’ll eb set, thanks.
Hannah´s last blog post ..Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:29 am

That song makes me wonder though Hannah – would you like to be described as a girl with an interesting face? I’m torn on this. I like interesting faces but I’m not sure if I’d like that to be my personal adjective.
Baked fish was the shizzle. You can have the rice and acar and I’ll have the fish and two serves of roti. An alcoholic ginger beer for both of us too?

Reply

Hannah August 26, 2010 at 8:36 am

Well, I wouldn’t mind having been all around the world, and I do like being down on the ground [with] emus up ahead…

That sounds like a perfect lunch order. Meet you at noon?
Hannah´s last blog post ..Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

Reply

Conor August 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

They’re not open for lunch! Foiled in our plan!

Reply

Elle (Bromography) August 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

The Portuguese fish and the roti look absolutely divine! If the food is good enough, it can distract you from the cacklers!

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

You’re right Elle – I don’t think I started to notice the cacklers until we had finished eating!

Reply

April @ My Food Trail August 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

I’m loving the look of the Portugese fish – look at all that delicious sauce! The roti looks great too!
April @ My Food Trail´s last blog post ..The Cookbook Challenge- Week 36 Comfort theme round up

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Yes April, plenty of delicious sauce to mop up with the roti :) In fact, totally enough sauce to warrant a double roti serving!

Reply

ylenate August 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Wow – reading this has made me a little homesick. Your experience and review of Ria has been very very similar to when we have dined there – even up to the grumpy owner! I seem to remember a starter called “mushroom balls” (I think…?) that was pretty good.

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Hehe, glad the grumpiness wasn’t just for us :) They still have “fried mushroom balls filled with spiced potato” in the starter options – we were tossing up between the balls and the nibbles and the nibbles won. Will go for the balls next time!

Reply

Carven August 26, 2010 at 11:46 pm

I’ve always wanted to try Ria for serving Malaysian food, now that i’ve an insight after reading your blog. Roti looks great and the Portugese baked fish looks mouthwatering. I’ll definitely pay them a visit to see if it’s that authentic!

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Looking forward to your review! I hope you enjoy your meal sans-cacklers.

Reply

Karen Harris August 27, 2010 at 12:58 am

It’s lunchtime here and now I’m starving. You think I’d learn not to read your site when I’m hungry. Duck and ribs, two of my favs. Oh well, since I have neither, I guess I’ll go comb through the fridge!

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Just getting you back, Karen. Hope your fridge hunt comes up with more than some crusty old unidentifiable ziploc bags ;)

Reply

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager August 27, 2010 at 7:09 am

Alcoholic ginger beer on tap? I’m already sold! But the menu looks really interesting and diverse too – even Portuguese baked fish on the menu – look’s amazing! A shame the special didn’t live up to its name.
Forager @ The Gourmet Forager´s last blog post ..Developing an appreciation for sake at Ocean Room

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Yes, it’s not something you see very often! The menu does seem to cover a lot of bases, and that fish was a winner.

Reply

OohLookBel August 27, 2010 at 7:46 am

That is pretty good value for all that food (and ginger beer). Maybe next time the change can be spent on earplugs (or a muzzle for the cacklers).
From chimpan-A to chimpanzee, you’ll never make a monkey out of me. I love you, Dr Zaius!
OohLookBel´s last blog post ..Vegetating mini meatloaves

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

You make a fabulous point, Bel. I prefer the muzzle option, as I’d like to still hear what my uncackling friends have to say.
Tee hee!

Reply

Tim August 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

I see your Werewolf Bar Mitzvah and raise you the Weird Watusi

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

The weird watusi!!! I forgot all about it! How could I, it’s hot from coast to coast!

Reply

penny aka jeroxie August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm

that looks like a cool looking Malaysian place… great find. and affordable!
penny aka jeroxie´s last blog post ..Giveaway – 1 of 8 bottles of Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cobram Estate’s Premium Range

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Yeah Penny, pretty good value for such a gorge (and the free entertainment by the waitress) :)

Reply

Simply Life August 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

This meal looks great, but sounds like you need a lot of patience!
Simply Life´s last blog post ..Hot- Flat and Crowded

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Ahh, patience is a virtue :)

Reply

Andrea@High/Low August 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm

You had me at the alcoholic ginger beer on tap! And that smokey caramelized duck. Yum! I also agree with overly-loud cacklers (and shouters) – they can definitely ruin a meal. (Though they did inspire you to write one of my fave descriptions in your post “people who have no quality control with their humour appreciation and laugh at everything.”)
Andrea@High/Low´s last blog post ..Giveaway! 60 gift certificate to CSN Stores

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Hehe, thanks Andrea, glad you found entertainment in my pain ;) How great is the alcoholic beer on tap! Heaps more places should offer it!

Reply

mademoiselle délicieuse August 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I like the going-f0r-accuracy description of “spiced predominantly with chilli” on the menu! How often do you come across “predominantly” being used in a similar situation?!
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..Khacha Thai- 24 April 2010

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

You know, I hadn’t thought about it but you really don’t see it enough! Menu language is normally either minimalist or OTT, but this is a good balance. Bring on more predominantly!

Reply

gcroft August 27, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Just hand me some of that roti and the rendang/curry.

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

You’ll have to fight me for the roti.

Reply

Arwen from Hoglet K August 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I like the mixed names like Mum’s Lo Ak – nice and multicultural. The spicy food sounds good, and the roti look like they’re done to a turn!

Reply

Conor August 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Good point, multiculturalism like this makes me smile. Maybe we can all get along with food like this? :)

Reply

Iron Chef Shellie August 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

daaaaamn! I want rib nibbles!!!
Iron Chef Shellie´s last blog post ..Taste of Melbourne 2010

Reply

Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

So… come to Perth. Duh.

Reply

pierre August 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm
Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Reply

tasteofbeirut August 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I would love a taste of these luscious things! yum,

Reply

Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

All scooped up in a pile of roti :)

Reply

Magic of Spice August 31, 2010 at 3:37 am

That roti looks so good, well everything looks so good. Wonderful review :)
Magic of Spice´s last blog post ..Our Guest Post on – Ancient Fire Wine

Reply

Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:20 am

Thank you! Roti for all :D

Reply

Nancy/SpicieFoodie August 31, 2010 at 4:54 am

Wow what a feast! All the dishes look delicious, I wish I could eat there.
Nancy/SpicieFoodie´s last blog post ..How to Roast Bell Peppers

Reply

Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

Blogger dinner there this weekend then? It’s only a plane ride away ;)

Reply

Celeste @ Berrytravels August 31, 2010 at 6:15 pm

That roti looks divine! I want! Definitely a place to check out if ever I’m on that side of town ;p
Celeste @ Berrytravels´s last blog post ..Event- Taste of Melbourne 2010

Reply

Conor September 1, 2010 at 11:22 am

Ha, if you’re ever on that side of town you better drop in for a visit! Perth is lovely in Spring……. ;)

Reply

Patty Price September 1, 2010 at 11:45 pm

From San Francisco to Perth, talk about a food pilgrimage from one side of the world to another but who’s complaining? It would be worth it for a quick visit and a few meals like this Malaysian feast:)

Reply

Conor September 2, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Oh come on Patty! It’s spring here now!

Reply

Cakelaw September 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm

The duck looks fab! I would definitely choose that. Did the table next door at least produce an egg among them?
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..A foodie trip through Sydney

Reply

Conor September 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Glad we are in agreement. I don’t think that people are allowed to go here without ordering the duck, by royal decree of myself.
You ask an excellent question. I did not spy any eggs, but they were still cackling like their lives depended on it when we left, so they may have been brewing up some big ones.

Reply

denise @ quickies on the dinner table September 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Oh Conor – such prices! *GASP* You make me want to fedex you a huge pot of chicken rendang …….I’m holding a bowl of it up to the screen right now and a plate of yellow sticky rice too. Maybe if you scratch on your side of the screen, you can smell it?!?
denise @ quickies on the dinner table´s last blog post ..Just Pointing in the General Direction

Reply

Conor September 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Denise!!! This is torture, torture I tell you! I am scratching and scratching and I can’t smell anything except the dusty warmth of the innards of my laptop :(

Reply

Maria @ ScandiFoodie September 3, 2010 at 3:19 am

Delicious! These dishes look and sound so interesting, I’d love to try!
Maria @ ScandiFoodie´s last blog post ..Crab Cakes

Reply

Conor September 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Let me know if you need a dining partner, Maria ;)

Reply

Juliana September 3, 2010 at 5:09 am

Wow, everything looks so yummie…mouthwatering :-)

Reply

Conor September 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Sure was! :)

Reply

Kitchen Butterfly September 4, 2010 at 1:19 am

Great outing……I like the rotis. Like I love Naans. I hope to go live in Miri someday…….Thanks for a preview!

Reply

Conor September 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I’d be happy if every meal included roti/naan. Even dessert. My bum might match the size of my smile though ;)

Reply

MaryMoh September 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

What a beautiful meal at a Malaysian restaurant. the food looks fantastic. I love that grilled squid with spicy sauce. I ahve to try and cook that. And of course the roti canai…never to be missed :D
MaryMoh´s last blog post ..Fun BBQ Potluck Outing To Celebrate Malaysia’s 53rd Independence Day

Reply

Conor September 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I would like to cook with squid more, Mary. I regularly order it but rarely cook it at home for some reason. Might need to recreate those little skewers :)

Reply

Agnes September 6, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Oh no, Conor. I have found, on the odd occasion, that I have been part of that table of loud, rowdy, cacklers. Once we chased off an older couple sitting next to us, who were probably just out for a nice meal (Maria was there – I think it was her fault, really). Can we still be friends now that I’ve admitted that to you??

Reply

Conor January 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Agnes, after considering your request since September, I can confirm that I am happy to still be friends with you.

Reply

Simon January 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I agree with some of your comments, but RIA is amazing, I personally could not care if people were enjoyng them selves next to me, that point to me is irrelevant. The food shines and so do the staff. The baked portuguese fish is one of the best dishes there and I go to RIA for that. Thanks for your insight.

Reply

Conor January 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Simon, I’ll definitely be back for more of that fish! Glad you enjoy it so much.. makes it more likely they’ll keep it on the menu :)

Reply

Ash February 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

The male owner seems intent on spoiling the experience with his constipated face and seems to think the customers are his “enemy”

Reply

Conor February 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Good to know it’s not just us, Ash. I’ve not heard someone’s face been described as constipated before, but I now feel the urge to use this adjective in the near future.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: