They grow up so fast. For a decade Ria was the size of a studio apartment, devoid of decoration, with a tiny car park and a compact kitchen putting out large flavours. Despite the limitations of the space the food won out, and in 2014 owner Nicholas Bond (Foam, Kitsch Bar) expanded the Leederville mainstay.

The kitchen sets a cracking pace, with share plate after share plate being sent out until tables disappear beneath a tapestry of edible colour. Yes, the new Ria is better equipped to cope with the demand. But only just.

Options include sweet watermelon with salty soft-shell crab and chicken wings. Long-time fans will be pleased to see a menu dedicated to Ria classics, such as Nyonya chicken curry, mum’s loh ak and Malay slow-cooked beef.

Such dishes have retained Ria’s loyal regulars. The carefully spiced dishes are the signatures of chef Joel Clet’s take on Malaysian cuisine. The post-work crowd thrives on fragrant, Asian-skewed cocktails.

Oh, and a two-course lunch can be had for $25 – among the best deals in the city.

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Updated: July 27th, 2017

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