Efendy, Sydney’s first contemporary Turkish restaurant, revisits its Anatolian roots with a new charcoal-focused menu to celebrate its 10th anniversary. A recent trip to his home country inspired chef Somer Sivrioglu to reignite charcoal grilling which is found in street stalls and restaurants across Turkey.
Sivrioglu’s new menu features many dishes inspired by charcoal Kebap restaurants around South East Anatolia. “In Turkey, charcoal kebap culture is so strong, there are more than a hundred versions. There’s the familiar doner Kebap and the Adana Kebap right through to less known types made with quail, livers, sweetbreads and small fish,” he says.
“Although this is the oldest cooking method of civilisation, it is one of the hardest. On a recent trip to Istanbul I visited Zubeyir, a restaurant in Istanbul that cooks on charcoal in front of guests, so that I could learn more about managing the fire. The secret to cooking with coals and capturing the smoky flavours is to have no flame and just the glowing embers,’ says Sivrioglu.
The charcoal feast set menu ($68) is a good place to start. A selection of cold meze recipes to start the meal are followed by a spread of meats cooked over charcoal. Adana style lamb kebap; chicken thigh fillet; beef and pistachio kofte; and lamb shoulder tandir are served with a side of grilled vegetables. Dessert is a ‘Turkish mess’ of merengue, cream, berries, rose and pistachio.
Efendy is one of only a few venues to discover Turkish wine: Sivrioglu is the only Australian importer and creates a list of the country’s best to match his menu. Curated with the help of Enis Guner, owner of Sevilen winery on the Aegean coast in western Turkey, Efendy’s wine list is 70 per cent Turkish showcasing largest selection of local grapes like Narince, Kalecik Karasi and Okuzgozu. The drinks menu also delivers a taste of Turkey with the largest selection of raki in Australia as well as Turkish beers and cocktails.
Early risers who still want a taste of Turkey need to indulge in Efendy’s breakfast feast from 9am on weekends. Served on an enormous wooden slab, the breakfast banquet includes more than 30 types of Turkish delicacies. Freshly baked pide, cheese, olives, fresh fruit, menemen eggs and more are shared together with Turkish tea, apple tea and Turkish coffee for $32 per person.
Efendy continues to be the leading Turkish restaurant in Sydney after a decade since opening its doors. The large, relaxed dining courtyard leads into a two-storey Victorian house where there is downstairs and upstairs dining. Downstairs has a cosy and relaxed ambience with a mix of wooden tables, chairs and benches with bright coloured cushions, stained glass windows and posters of Turkish movies on the wall. Upstairs, the vibe is more Mediterranean coastal with blue and white hues.
In 2017, top Turkish chefs Mehmet Gurs (Mikla, Istanbul) and Maksut Askar (Neolokal, Istanbul) will travel to team up with Sivrioglu at his restaurant for its 10th birthday. Sivrioglu’s mentor and Australia’s unofficial godfather of Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, Greg Malouf, will also host an exclusive event to celebrate Efendy’s milestone.