Monday, 5 April 2010

Restaurant Review: Efendy, Balmain

Last night I was very generously invited to Efendy, a Turkish restaurant in Balmain, for a celebration of Turkish food and to mark Istanbul being the European Capital of Culture for 2010.

Efendy is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Asli and Somer Sivrioglu. I was lucky enough to be sitting next to Asli during dinner (while Somer was busy in the kitchen cooking). It was inspirational to be talking to Asli, after meeting twelve years ago her and Somer have worked towards their dream of opening a restaurant, which was realised two and a half years ago. Many of the dishes are family recipes which was wonderful. They clearly love and have great pride in Turkish food.

Turkish food is still quite pioneering in Australia. Having had the excellent Meze Mangal on my doorstep in London, I was at a slight advantage already being familiar with some of flavours. Meze Mangal and Efendy are two different styles of Turkish cooking. Meze Mangal is concentrated around the wood wired oven and charcoal BBQ. Efendy is more refined (?) utilising a greater variety herbs and spices, and a broader array of cooking techniques e.g. pates and confit.

We were treated to three cold mezes, three hot mezes, a main course which was a trio of three lamb dishes and a dessert platter of three desserts. They do like everything to come in triplicate!

There will be many more eloquent reviews of the evening's dishes (which I'll link to below), so here I'll just describe my favourite meze of the evening. The lamb's testciles pictured above! If you'd told me before the evening that they'd be my favourite dish I would never have believed you, but they were a very pleasant surprise. The lamb was surved on an almond puree and crisp bread. The texture isn't what you usually expect from offal, it was tender and almost open like a succulent piece of pork that is falling apart. One of our group didn't want to eat their testicle, so I had two! The flavour of the lamb was very subtle with the almond puree dominating.

Sydney Food Bloggers. No one told me the secret code was to wear dark colours!

Asli and Somer were unbelievably generous last night. They put together a menu card detailing all of the dishes that we ate and also a little goodie bag for us to take away including apple tea, pomegranate molasses, turkish delight and isot a burnt / dried pepper.

I plan to return soon to try more of their food.

Reviews of the evening:
My photos are here.
Simon Food Favourites - enjoy Simon's review and excellent photography.
Phuoc 'n Delicious - a wonderfully comprehensive review of the evening.
Ooh, Look - if you look closely you'll even see a photo of me!
he needs food - comprehensive review and some amazing photos.
Pigged-out - great flavour descriptions and even more amazing photos (seems to be a theme with Sydney food blogs).
Cook Book Maniac - my new friend Amy post her review.
(I'll add more as I discover them.)

Efendy Restaurant | meze bar on Urbanspoon


  1. hi richard, your review is well written and a great read about the night — i'll add the link to my post now. that's so funny about the secret code of wearing dark colours, very hilarious but now you know about it for next time HEHE :-) hope to see u around the foodie events.

  2. Hey Richard next time there's some sort of offal, i will sit next to you because u were much much game than I was hehe! ^_^

  3. Hey rich, nice camera! where can i get me one of those!?

  4. Hey Richard!

    I like how your post is nice and simple. Keep up the good work and nice photography.