Ryan’s Pub and Grill has been a longtime go-to hangout for the Sunday crowd. It is in Paceville, but not exactly, and its location and laid-back atmosphere has proven to be popular with the Maltese for years on end.
In preparation for the hectic summer season, Ryan’s kitchen has undergone a massive revamp courtesy of Daniel Grech, the master-chef behind Shoreditch and some of Malta’s most beautiful burgers and desserts.
Grech has come up with a fresh and trademark-crazy menu that mixes the chilled vibe of Ryan’s with the out-of-the-box creativity that Shoreditch is known for to create an impressive and contemporary menu that won’t break the bank.
Lovin Malta wanted to try out the menu – and what better place to start than the starters. All starters ranged from €5.50 to €6.50.
Jalapeno-cream cheese poppers and truffle sweet potato fries
We ordered five of the seven starters – which wasn’t easy, but you can’t have everything in life. The cream cheese jalapeno poppers with sriracha mayo and black pepper delivered a satisfying bite, with the right amount of sweetness to cut through the cream cheese.
The sweet potato fries were exactly the kind of dish that I was hoping would be on the new Ryan’s menu. These sweet potato fries are covered in – get this – truffle, parmesan dust, icing sugar, and bacon crackle.
And somehow, all those flavours came together brilliantly, with the truffle and bacon really coming together in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined.
Halloumi soldiers with mango chutney
Possibly my favourite starter though was the halloumi soldiers. Imagine mozzarella sticks on steroids, with a beautifully crisp outer coating to be drizzles in a lemony mango chutney. The bite in this things is out of this world.
5-spice chicken taco with peanut butter
The 5-spice chicken taco seemed like a standard taco – until you bite in, that is. A layer of peanut butter hidden under the coleslaw alongside the spices of the chicken’s batter makes this a standout dish.
Pulled pork crostini
And we just had to order the pulled pork crostini. With onion relish, apple and mango chutney and sharp English cheddar melted atop the pulled pork, this dish has tons of flavour.
Our table of four, however, was divided on the bread – half of the table were loving the fact that the crostini were soaked in all the juices, whereas the other half had hoped for a more toasted crunchy crostini.
While awaiting the starters to arrive, our bubbly and clearly experienced waiter ran us through some of the cool craft beers that Ryan’s now offers. After realising that he was speaking to some craft-beer noobs, he offered us a small 4-course tasting menu to go along with our meal throughout the night.
Needless to say, we left our drinks in his capable hands for the rest of the night.
Fish n’ chips with triple-fried chips
I don’t know if you know about the new fish n’ chips at Ryan’s, but it’s a tad over the top, in the best way possible. It even comes with a small spray bottle filled with vinegar, for you to finely spray your fish (or chips) as you please.
The ale-batter of the fish was to die for – light as hell, crispy AF, and warmly and gently enclosing the white fish inside. The fish comes nestled on triple-cooked chips as well as a some tasty tartar sauce and room temperature mushy peas.
Pancetta and gorgonzola gnocchi
Even though no-one at the table likes gorgonzola, we had to try the pancetta and gorgonzola gnocchi. And somehow, none of us regretted it. The texture of the gnocchi was mad, with the beautiful little potato balls giving way to your tongue’s slightest touch, and the pancetta greatly complementing the not overwhelming gorgonzola flavour.
5-spice sriracha and peanut butter burger
After the 5-spice taco, we just had to get the 5-spice burger. Possibly the group’s overall favourite main, the layer of peanut butter mixed with the sririacha and coleslaw and 5-spice batter makes this burger impossible to hate. I’ll definitely be ordering this again when I return.
Ruination double IPA
To accompany our mains, the waiter recommended a Berlin beer called Ruination. With an alcohol level of 8.5%, this is not a craft beer to be sniffed at, but it went perfectly well with the mains we had ordered.
Sticky toffee pudding
Of course, no meal that has Daniel Grech’s influence on it can not end in dessert, so we ordered dessert. The capable hands of chefs Owen and Robert did the recipes supreme justice. Don’t let the simplicity of the Sticky Toffee Pudding throw you off, the nectar of the gods that lies in that little jug is sublime enough to start world wars.
And blueberry pannacotta with pecan nuts was the perfectly light way to end the meal.
If you are looking for a unique dinner with elevated gastropub food that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, then Ryan’s is for you. Sit back, order a craft beer, relax, and stuff your face these delectable dishes.