Nothing screams Sydney and summer like a good old Aussie BBQ. We love the outdoors. This summer, in the courtyard at Turkish restaurant Efendy in Balmain, Chef Somer Sivrioglu brings the Aussie outdoors together with traditional Turkish charcoal recipes. Every Saturday from 12 noon to 3pm during summer, Efendy offers a choice of three BBQ dishes. I scooted over today to Balmain to check it out.
Chef (and Efendy owner) Somer Sivrioglu informed me that traditionally kebabs come from the south eastern region of Turkey – and Gaziantep is the capital of kebabs. Every city however has its own specialities.
The offerings of the morning were Ezmeli (lamb and veal minced kebab over charcoal, tomato and banana peppers ezme) Tavuklu (yoghurt and capsicum marinated chicken thighs) and Sogan Kebabi (lamb and shallot kebab).
The Tavuklu will be available every Saturday, but the other two dishes will change each week. This week the Ezmeli was particularly flavoursome and moist – the secret of success (or so I’m told) is the use of fat from the tail in the ezme (mix). It was my choice of the day.
My Saturday sojourne wan’t all about food. At another table, a musician was seated with fans. Sivrioglu delighted in telling me the musician was Mercan Dede (DJ Allen). Sivrioglu plays his music in the restaurant. Then to my delight, an introduction with Mercan Dede was arranged. Fame has had no effect on him. He’s quietly spoken, centred, even humble, yet appreciative when I tell him I enjoy his music. The rest of the band arrived and I’m invited upstairs by Chef to join them all for brunch. I accept. But as I’ve already eaten, it’s just the company I enjoy. When I say I feel like an intruder, the generous and welcoming Sivrioglu reassures me “there are no intruders at this table”.
Although I didn’t eat once upstairs, there was one last Turkish treat I did get to try.
An aphrodisiac, a cure-all for ailments from stomach ulcers to kidney stones, a boost for the immune system: the hot beverage menegic kahve (pistachio coffee) is actually caffeine free. Perhaps kahve (or coffee) is a misnomer – the beverage is made from wild pistachio. With the addition of milk and sugar, it’s smooth and sweet.
79 Elliott Street (Corner of Darling Street)
Balmain NSW 2041 Australia
+61 2 9810 5466
And you can follow Efendy restaurant on twitter too.