We’re seated outside at Efendy in Balmain on a beautiful sunny Sunday. The courtyard has a casual atmosphere that’s friendly and inviting, extending through to the contemporary Turkish food. There’s nothing too fussy going on with everything we order, just authentic and bold flavours. With a new focus on charcoal grilling, chef Somer Sivrioglu was inspired by a recent trip to his home country.
We start with barrel-aged feta and wedges of Santa Claus melon ($12). I’ve always been into the feta and melon combination – the way the crumbly, salty feta harmonises with juicy, sweet melon is so satisfying. We’re informed that in Turkey, feta and melon are paired with raki, a strong aniseed beverage that’s topped up with water and turns cloudy.
The pomegranate hummus ($14) is delightfully creamy and moreish with fluffy pita bread pockets. Owing its vibrantly orange hue to capsicum, the hummus is a triumph in terms of flavour and uniqueness.
We’re still in dip terrain with the smoked eggplant, tahini, and pistachio ($14), carrying with it smokey and nutty characters. We keep going back to this throughout our meal, dipping our pita into it with glee.
Moving into the ‘From the oven’ section of the menu with the shanklish, feta and kashar cheese pide with sautéed silverbeet ($10) proves to be an excellent choice. Three kinds of cheese and dill are melted on a thin pide base. It’s something I could eat all day every day.
Lumped in the charcoal mangal part of the menu, the beautifully plated beef and pistachio kofte ($28) are teamed with carob molasses, beetroot, and pickled chillies. It’s tasty eating and I fully condone the amount of pistachios that have snuck into our meal here (but wait, there’s more to come in desserts!).
The yoghurt panna cotta ($14) with cucumber and citrus is dense and a bit grainy, but in terms of flavours it’s two thumbs up from me.
To finish, the Turkish mess ($15) with meringue, rose cream, berries, and pistachio is a sight for sore eyes. Towering high, the generous dessert is a Turkish version of an Eton mess, though the rose flavour is very mild (to my delight).
Our flavourful lunch ends with Turkish coffee and tea, accompanied by Turkish delight. Efendy is celebrating its 10th anniversary and it has me wondering why I hadn’t been here before. I’ll be returning without a doubt – perhaps for breakfast or dinner.
Address: 79 Elliot Street, Balmain
Opening Times: Breakfast & Lunch Saturday-Sunday, Dinner Wednesday-Sunday