(Image from http://www.themoorshead.com/)
Here’s another of those posts that I kept meaning to write that just never happened. Quite some time ago (last year in fact) I enjoyed a fabulous meal at the Moor’s Head in Thornbury with the mum’s from the playgroup I take Miss Two and Baby Good to. They are a great bunch of women and we all agree that playgroup is at least as much for us as it is for the kids. We are very casual and relaxed with very few structured activities. Our standard mode of practice is to get loads of toys out, inside and out, sometimes organise an easy craft activity and provide a snack, then let the kids loose to choose what they want to do, while we chat, drink tea or coffee, arbitrate minor squabbles between various children, console others after tumbles and spills and chat some more. We also organise the occasional child-free meal in a much more adult environment, get frocked up and EAT.
At one such meal late last year, someone came up with the brilliant suggestion of trying a restaurant in Thornbury called the Moor’s Head. When I first heard it I figured it was some kind of pub, the name just had that ring to it. But it was so much better than a pub. As the two guys who run it say, they make inauthentic pizza, that is pizza with a Middle Eastern twist. Being a very small restaurant, our booking of ten meant we were restricted to a set menu, though I don’t mind that as it often means I try something I wouldn’t ordinarily pick. As it turned out though there was a lot of choice within that set menu and as everyone was happy to share we all got to try loads of different dishes… that’s pretty much my idea of heaven, I don’t understand people who don’t share.
I won’t go into every dish as I did last time, mainly because there were so many and it was quite some time ago, but I will mention the highlights. The meal started with home made dips, bread and pickled vegetables and olives. The dips were lovely, but it was the vegetables that really stood out, especially the cauliflower and radishes. They were fresh and different from the standard starters at similar restaurants.
Following this we were treated to an array of pides and manoushe, both a different take on the classic Italian pizza. They were all topped with a variety of Middle Eastern spices and flavours and ranged from quite spicy to sweet. My favourites were the Beiruti with za’atar, fresh tomatoes, olives, roquette and labna and the Istanbuli with pumpkin, tahini, dukkah and parsley. To finish off the meal we had their tea of the day along with amazing home made Turkish Delight and Persian Fairy Floss. While this might have seemed small it was certainly a powerful hit of sugar, but that suited my sweet tooth just fine. Just a note, we shared some wine (not sure which one) with the table, but they have a very interesting array of non-alcoholic drinks including Sour Cherry Nectar and Pomegranate Juice.
The atmosphere in the dining room was a little quirky, it was small, but completely booked out, always a good sign. We had a rather odd waiter who was nice but the service was a bit hit and miss with him. The only real negatives I have was that the others diners left quite early and there was the unmistakable feeling that the staff were just waiting for us to go too. All being mother’s with small children and having a rare night out without them we weren’t in a hurry to leave so it would have been nice to have had a bit more time. And the other problem had nothing to do with the restaurant, but it was quite tricky to find street parking in the area so we were all miles away from the restaurant.
I would have no hesitation in recommending the Moor’s Head to anyone looking for something a little different to eat in the Northern suburbs. I love finding a (semi) local treasure like this one and will definitely be taking my family and friend back there. So if you’re up this way looking for a feed, check out the Moor’s Head.
PS I really need to start taking my camera and photographing some of the food for these blog posts.