We’ve been around the block. But it’s not just us; hell, even you’re looking a bit crinkly around the eyes these days. Laughter lines or too many late nights? That’s your secret and who are we to judge? We’re usually burning the midnight oil noshing our way to bedtime ourselves. But sometimes we eat out during the day. We’ve even been known to get up in time for breakfast.
But to get back to our opening point – we’ve been around the block for sure. We recall when Ada Mediterranean Restaurant was the Wimpy; for years a landmark diner in Ryde’s twentieth century streetscape. Before the arrival of the drive-through at Westridge, newly-divorced Matt would take his young sons to the Wimpy for a treat. Today’s McDads probably wouldn’t understand the allure of a bender in a bun delivered tableside by uniformed staff. But the Wimpy has left the Island; even its last stronghold at Appley beach is now the Big Kahuna. For that authentic English burger experience you’ll have to travel to Southsea’s Clarence Pier.
Anyway, one symptom of getting on is the uncanny ability to ramble completely off-topic. Back to the matter in hand. The Wimpy is now Ada. A few vestiges of its fast food origins remain; namely the ceiling tiles and the plate glass windows. Otherwise it’s been given a makeover, with pseudo brick wallpaper (just like that old pseud Cat has in her living room, M&C trivia fans) and some jauntily-positioned pictures in gilt frames cavorting along the back wall.
The whole thing feels quite homely and welcoming, especially as another thing that remains from the Wimpy days is the table service. But the team at Ada is definitely experienced – the service is very good and nothing like the erstwhile fast food joint’s summer student novices. While we were enjoying our lunch we were joined by one of Matt’s sons, no longer a wide-eyed four-year-old but a towering man. The waiter smoothly brought him a drink and a place setting and we shared our mezze, because that’s the whole point of this Mediterranean cuisine.
Sweet potato fries £2.95
Potato cubes £2.50
Fried vegetables £4.95
Grilled halloumi £4.95
Cat chose from a range of meat-free tapas. Sweet potato fries are hard to get wrong. Her grilled halloumi was soft and mild, an improvement on what can sometimes be over-salty and chewy squeaky cheese. It was garnished with peppery rocket and a couple of bisected baby plum tomatoes. The stand-out dish was from the hot mezze section: fried aubergine, potatoes and peppers with tomato sauce and garlic yoghurt. Cat’s rediscovering garlic in a big way and this potent yoghurt satisfied her. Its creaminess counteracted the slight acidity of the tomatoes; Matt would probably have put some sugar in the sauce when reducing the tomatoes, but we all know what sort of chef he is.
On Matt’s side of the table was his Ada favourite – sucuk, Turkish spiced meat sausage. In Ada this is served sliced in a rich tomato sauce. Alongside he had kofte, which is the house special lamb meatballs. Served piping hot these obviously fresh meaty patties were like miniature lamb burgers, full of flavour. Like the sucuk, these mezze dishes are simple but very effective – and, Matt noted approvingly – served in quite big portions. We got a complementary pile of warm pitta bread pieces, making the sweet potato fries and cubed potatoes almost superfluous – almost, we still ate them.
Ada is a good addition to Ryde’s world food offering, along with Ryde Thai, Caribbean Bendula and the town’s Italian and Indian restaurants. Its menu hasn’t changed much since the day the place opened in 2015; it doesn’t seem to trouble itself with specials or local food provenance but we can go elsewhere for those. If it’s great service and reliable simple food you want at manageable prices, then Ada is your place.
This is the full-length version of the review that appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Good value food
- Decent service
- Reliable standards on the menu