Don’t let the fancy building and courtyard deter you; head upstairs where a hot Istanbul night is never out of reach! Meze is the Turkish equivalent of tapas, and this is the perfect venue to explore it. We dined outside on the pretty balcony, where tree sized holes (with room for growth) have been cut to allow the gorgeous tree to continue growing unhindered.
I am such a sucker for filling up on bread, and when it is this good, how can I resist? The olive oil is Komili Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ayvalik and it is superb.
I am also a sucker for cocktails, and I liked my sour-cherry infused Vishnepolitan ($12). I was also impressed with the Buyukada Apple Tea ($15) which is of course a version of the Long Island Iced Tea. It actually managed to include Efe Raki which I don't like the taste of in a clever way, infinitely drinkable.
Select from well-priced options like the Duck Gözleme ($8/ 2 pieces). The duck stuffed yufka pastry topped with fresh pomegranate certainly rewrote gözleme for me.
A similar reformation was launched by the Fried Duck and Rice Kofte ($8/2 pieces) it was always supposed to be duck, not the drier beef mince in thes I am now convinced.
The Efendy Salata ($6) showcased excellent produce like springy rocket, superb Turkish figs and more of that divine olive oil.
The menu is loaded with vegetarian dishes, but even carnivores should include the Zucchini Fritters ($6/2 pieces). But on a more serious note, vegetarians will really enjoy this place, lots of interesting choices.
The restaurant goes through fifty kilos of beef cheeks a week; when you order a Sicak (larger dish) of Braised Beef Cheek with Eggplant Puree ($15) you’ll see why. They’re four hour braised and melt in the mouth. The eggplant puree is so good I would suggest all diners order a dish of it. I have not checked if this is possible, so I suggest begging.
Wine consumption here is also going to please your accountant – the stunning 2004 Domain Day Riesling ($9/glass, $25/carafe, $36/bottle) was the highest priced wine on their clever list. For dessert, share a Daily Foursome ($10) of desserts, like a not-too sweet log of fıstık sarma (pistachio) and a small glass of excellent Turkish Coffee flavoured Keşkül (milk pudding). As you can see by the above photo, we got er... a few more than four selections on our platter, but it was so I could see the range of things that could be on the platter. They were all good; though the chocolate covered with pistachio concoction was a bit hardcore on the chocolate stakes.
At the prices I have listed, you would have to be mad not to check this one out. The food and setting are both superb. We will be returning ourselves to try more of the menu. There is also the downstairs part of the restaurant which is more in the style of fine diner - see HERE for my review of that early last year.
Efendy Meze Bar
Upstairs, 79 Elliott Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9810 5466