Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Moor's Head

September 30, 2012

We've been meaning to hit up The Moor's Head since Claire reviewed it about a year ago. Even with our semi-regular visits to Thornbury for Women of Letters, we've never quite got it together for a visit. This week we finally rectified things, dropping by for an early dinner on the way home from a weekend away. Run by one of the same people as Rumi, The Moor's Head is aiming at being a fancy version of Mankoushe. Their tag-line is 'inauthentic pizzas', and manoushe and pide make up the bulk of the menu. We turned up right as they were opening and settled right into our pick of the tables.

The menu is super veg-friendly - almost half of the pizzas are vegetarian, as are most of the starters and all of the salads. Vegans will struggle, although there were a couple of pizzas that looked modifiably vegan. They do gluten-free bases for the coeliacs (at an extra $3). We deliberately over-ordered, safe in the knowledge that we could pack up any leftovers to take home (side-note for those in the area/with a car: everything at The Moor's Head is available to takeaway).

We started with the a serve of the baby peppers, stuffed with feta and served with walnuts and olive oil ($8). There was something vinegary about the peppers, which worked nicely with their sweetness and the salty feta stuffing. The walnuts were a reasonably good accompaniment, although I wouldn't have minded them halved and stuffed inside the peppers with the cheese.

We also ordered a salad to accompany our pizzas - chickpeas, parsley, tahini, yoghurt and almonds ($8.50).

This didn't wow either of us - it was fine, but anything so reminiscent of the famous Moroccan Soup Bar fatteh is going to be a bit of a let-down in comparison. The almonds were good, and the dressing was fine, but a bit of extra salt and maybe having it at room temperature rather than cold would have tipped things more in its favour.

To the main event! After a quick twitter consultation with Claire, we settled on two of the pides - first up the Istanbuli (pumpkin, tahini, dukkah and parsley, $17).

This was great - a good combination of flavours served in tasty and tender dough.

The pièce de résistance was the much vaunted Omar Sharif, a combination of three cheeses with oregano, mint, nigella and soused onion ($17.50).

You can almost feel your arteries solidifying as you gobble it down - salty and gooey, with just enough herby flavours to cut through the hefty cheese filling. I think a whole one of these would be too much, but splitting it in half (and saving half of that half for lunch the day after) meant that it was a real highlight.

I was very impressed by The Moor's Head - the service was friendly and speedy (helped no doubt by our early arrival) and the food fresh and delicious. I was feeling pretty happy with the prices (~$60 bought us more than we could eat plus two drinks) until Cindy drew the direct comparison with Mankoushe. The pizzas here are definitely a step up in terms of ingredients and variety, but when you think about the haloumi or spiced fetta manoushes available for around a fiver at Mankoushe, it's hard to justify the expense. Still, The Moor's Head shouldn't be punished for Mankoushe's insanely good value - it's still a very satisfactory and affordable meal (especially if compared with the fancy pizza places it's more realistically going up against).


The Moor's Head has received some excellent reviews from melbourne gastronome, Let's Get Fat Together, The New Good Life, jessinabubble, Excess Baggage and Food Sailor, while Double Dutch Oven prefers the value on offer at Mankoushe.


The Moor's Head
774 High Street, Thornbury (it's actually a bit of the way down Collins Street)
9484 0173
starters/salads $4.50 - 8.50, veg pizzas $16.50 - 17.50

Accessibility: The Moor's Head has done a good job in terms of accessibility - there's a ramp on entry, a reasonably spacious interior and a unisex, disability accessible bathroom. Ordering is at the table, payment at a low counter.


  1. if you go again, i recommend the 'saladin' manoushe. we used to live nearby, had a house 'cooling' party where we tried many of the pizzas and this was voted the best - loved it. i agree the chickpea salad is pretty ordinary, but leftovers spiced up with a few cranberries or barberries, salt and lemon juice were excellent!

    1. Hi Anon! That sounds like an excellent upcycling of the salad. :-)

      The Saladin manoushe certainly appealed to me, I'll push for it next time - thanks!

  2. I went to the Moor's Head on my last trip to Melbourne and loved it. But then we don't really have any close comparisons here in Sydney, well not that I know of anyway. All the places doing pides tend to be cheap (and often greasy) kebab shops. There's a couple of better, more authentic places, but still nowhere doing that blend of traditional and modern that you get at Moor's Head.

    The Omar Sharif was too much for me. Just too much cheese, but I did really enjoy the other, more vegetable heavy pides.

    They also do very good Turkish Delight!

    1. Hi Kathryn! I thought of you when I saw tahini yoghurt mentioned all over the menu. :-)

      I can understand that the cheese pide was a challenge, I found it very salty and interspersed it with the chickpea salad.