Easter Sunday is a day where some spend at church while others (like myself) laze around and do nothing all day (bad christian girl i am ). Simon organised a group of food lovers to join him on a mouth watering opportunity to broaden our taste buds at Efendy - Turkish restaurant on the Balmain strip.
Dinner at Efendy was a fantastic night that opened my eyes to Turkish cuisine from various regions of Turkey. As part of the experience we dined without having a menu infront of us. It was great as our we depended on our senses to analysed the presentation and flavours.
When asking the question “What is Turkish food?” people generally tend to think of “Donner Kebabs, Turkish Pide and Turkish delight”. It just comes to show if you’re up for something completely different experience from what you’re comfortable with, Turkish cuisine just might be the option for you. Especially if you lurveeeee Mediterranean food like me
Soguk Mezeler (Cold Mezes)
Fava (Broad bean paste, onion and dill pate. Recipe by Somer’s mom)
My first impression was some sort of chickpea or lentil being pureed as it had similar textures to other Arabic foods. Dill was prominent which made this dish stand out. I loved the combination with the artichoke, it really helped complement the dish when eaten together.
Midye Dolma (Tasmanian black mussels, aromatic rice, pine-nuts, currant and spices)
When lemon is squeezed onto the rice it turns into more of a lemony type of dish. When eaten with the currants, the sweetness of it explodes making the dish sweet with a hint of tang. When Phuoc pointed out “tastes like the Greek dolmathes” alarm bells went buzzing in my head which immediately took me back to Perama’s – David Tsirekas’ greek dolmathes.
Hamsi (Black Sea sardines, tomato ezme on olive oil confit style)
I’m not too good when it comes to eating sardines, I was traumatised as a child due to my parents spreading it on bread to make a sandwich *eww*. I have to admit, sardines were beautiful, tomato ezme really complemented the dish.
Sicak Mezeler (Hot Mezes)
Koc Yumurtasi (Lamb’s testicles, garlic almond tarator)
When the waiter brought this out and explained to us it was “Lamb Testicles” I got a bit scared. Deep down my gut said “don’t try it” and my head was saying “eat me, eat me, don’t be a wuss”. During the nights conversations a couple of people fancied this empowering dish and the crown for the most bravest foodies goes to Denea & Richard. *whoo hoo!*
First bite – The texture reminded me of chicken sausage being cut up into wedges and the taste felt like I was eating a lamb sausage which I thought was quite nice.
Second bite – I took a bigger chomp due to the good impression I got from the first bite… After chewing on it, the super lamby taste came exploding in my mouth. There was a weird after taste (it’s a taste I’ve never experienced before) lingering in my mouth. I was hoping the garlic tartar would take the taste away but I think the lamby taste played the dominant role.
Last bite - i caved in / chickened out and threw in the towel and sculled my glass of wine.
Heck…if you’re up for a challenge and want to taste something different then the Koc Yumurtasi would be good to start with.
Kadayifli Karides (Kadayif wrapped with Hervey Bay king prawns, walnut, capsicum and roasted garlic muhammara)
Absolutely fantastic! Prawns were huge and very fresh. The texture of the Kadayif and capsicum sauce really took this dish to a another level. No such thing as sharing when it comes to this dish!!! MINE ALL MINE!!
Pachanga Boregi (Spice-cured, sun dried beef backstrap, kashar cheese borek)
Beautiful golden triangles of cured meat! Definitely one of my favourites on the night. The outside was crunchy and crumbed – Great dish anyone would love.
Ana Yaemek (Main)
Kuzu Kuzu Dish 1 (Braised lamb neck a yogurt soup, rice and chickpeas)
Absolutely divine. I loved the lambs neck which was soo soft and tender which melted in my mouth. I thought the zestiness was coming from a lemon in a cream based soup…it was in fact natural yoghurt. It was a great soup it wasn’t too creamy or too rich. Denea suggested we dip left over turkish bread into the soup and ahh boy it was really good.
Kuzu Kuzu Dish 2 (Mini Iskender of dorper lamb backstrap, jus soaked in turkish bread crouton, Iskender sauce of tomato, capsicum and paprika, garlic yoghurt)
Lamb was delicious, sliced thin and really tender. The bread crouton was amazing for a second I thought it was potato chips. Delicious!!
Kuzu Kuzu Dish 3 (Saltbush lamb shoulder with dried eggplant and smoky eggplant puree)
In my ‘About Me’ page it says I dislike eggplant, well I change my mind because this eggplant dish was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!! I ate this soo quickly I was disappointed when it was all gone! God damn I love you smokey eggplant you make my belly jiggle with happiness.
Ahirdagi Salata (salad which consists of tomato, cucumber, red onion, walnuts, pomegranate molasses)
What a beautiful salad! The colours are amazing and the ingredients are refreshing. The pomegranate worked wonders for this salad providing it with its flavour and texture. It some how reminds me of fattoush but missing the crunchy bits of the Lebanese bread hehe.
Tatli Tabagi (Dessert)
Keskul (Pistachio, almond, pomegranate pudding)
My favourite dessert for the night! The texture was unusual almost tasting like a rice pudding. The pomegranate and the turkish fairyfloss – BRILLIANT!!! I loved this soo much I was seriously trying to make this dessert last forever!!!
Kazandibi (Burnt mastic and cinnamon pudding)
When seeing this on the menu, I originally wanted to try this. I found it to be very different to all the desserts I’ve tried or am used to eating. It was very chewy (similar to japanese mochi but with a different taste).
Baklava (layered filo pastry with crushed walnuts)
What’s not to love about a baklava, seriously its the BESTTTTTTTTTTTTT!! Some baklavas are too sweet and some are too oily but this one was perfect ahhh… I could eat 5 of you golden layered goodies!! (most I’ve eaten is 5 in a row)
After doing some research about baklava I always thought it was LEBANESE!!!!!! I don’t know why or how I thought it was Lebanese, I always assumed it’s where its roots came from. As Wikipedia says its from TURKEY!!!
Lokum (Traditional turkish delight)
It’s good when someone who doesn’t really fancy Turkish delight falls in love with it and takes some home (Denea). Really nice turkish delight, wasn’t sweet and what I loved about it was the almond pieces embedded.
Raki (Traditional Turkish alcoholic beverage)
Interesting drink it is prepared in a glass cup with a metal tin surrounding the glass with ice. In order to drink this you add the water and then cubes of ice. As for the taste, if you love licorice then you’ll love this drink as it tastes like your eating a licorice stick. It also tastes very similar to Sambuca (alcoholic spirit).
Elma Cayi (Apple tea)
MmMMmMmMm a really delicious apple tea it almost tastes like a cinnamon apple pie!!!
Starters / Sides
We started the night with Isot spices. I cant remember the actual spices but what I do know was that it was all individually unique and delicious once the Turkish bread is dipped with olive oil and mixed.
Everything & anything else..
Thanks Simon & the crew @ Efendy! Brilliant night with great food, information and most importantly great company. There were a lot of new foodies who I hadn’t met before and because I was a bit late, I didn’t get the chance to mingle with everyone :( Always next time ^_^
79 Elliott Street (Corner of Darling Street)
Balmain NSW 2041
P:(02) 9810 5466