The gentrification of Marrickville continues apace with the advent of Barzaari. This Cypriot-Australian restaurant neatly proves that wherever a former Quay chef – Darryl Martin – lands, and Durack reviews, Range Rovers will follow.
We take our meal Marrickville pavement style, sitting directly under the flight path, and watching the aforementioned Range Rovers pull up in the bus stop as they contemplated actually having to park in the light-industrial surrounds of Addison Road.
On the floor, friendly co-owner Andrew Jordanou, seems almost bemused by the early popularity of the restaurant turning away locals left and right. So yes, you’ll need a reservation, especially if you want to forgo the badly sloping pavement and 428 bus arrivals for a seat inside the hip space amongst elegantly placed twigs, exposed brick, street art and – you guessed it – exposed Edison bulbs.
I shut up about hipster clichés as soon as I stuff a brik pastry tube of Tiropikakia ($14/3) into my gob. This exciting reinvention of the humble Greek feta triangle, pleasures all corners of your palate using crisp pastry, feta and ricotta cream, pickled caper leaves, dill, blood orange and pine nuts. It’s an excellent beginning, especially when paired with the 2010 Bella Ridge Estate Chenin Blanc ($76) which is the first Australian Chenin blanc I’ve tried that could give Vouvray pause.
The wine list, put together by Dennis Roman, contains wines from many of my Australian favourites - Jamsheed, Collector – alongside a wide-ranging global selection. There are also cocktails, running from a seasonally appropriate Spring Is In ($17) with vodka, Aperol and grapefruit, served Martini style with a cinnamon rim, to the more all-purpose Yeh Boi Rye Old Fashion ($19) taming rye with caramelised mandarin syrup and bitters. This sort of robust cocktail should hopefully give you a hankering for meat, because all brik pastry snacks side, rotisserie meat is what you’re here for.
Regardless, the Crisp Duck Leg ($15) has much to recommend about it. Dangling the long, duck leg-stuffed pastry cigar through sesame seed-dotted sheep’s yoghurt, punctuating each bite with molasses-drenched dates, we start to pine for bread.
The longing intensifies through Wood-Fired Prawns ($23) – a dish that successfully pits a pricy pair of Spencer Gulf prawns against the richness of skordalia (a silky puree of garlic and potato) and a super-feisty, seeds-in fire roasted chilli.
Lips tingling, we hold out for the wood-fired pita bread strewn with nigella seeds and lightly brushed with olive oil, which accompanies our Pork Neck ($33). Wrapping moist pig slices, complete with nicely caramelised and charred sections of skin, inside this pillowy soft bread, and passing it from hand-to-mouth, is deeply pleasurable. Eating with your hands feels gauche amongst such a highbrow crowd, and that’s what makes it all the more delightful, as you smear your warm pork neck sandwich into runny cold yoghurt to sooth the excessive salt.
You’ll also find relief in Charcoal Carrots ($14), a tangle of heirloom baby carrots piled upon tangy yoghurt, and rounded out by a dusting of sumac, caraway and pastourma (air-dried beef) crumbs.
The salty, meaty intensity does pave the way for dessert, and the Mastic Parfait ($14) will make you feel glad you indulged. Served in the manner of a mille-feuille, it teams a wonderful mastic parfait with layers of compressed watermelon and crunchy kataifi pastry, offset by spirals of candied bitter orange (kitromilo).
It’s better balanced that the eye-catching Muhallebi ($14) that presents a ball of pistachio-rolled pistachio sorbet on a quivering pink lake of rosewater jelly-topped sweet milky custard. The latter eats too sweetly, but nevertheless contributes to me feeling like I've taken a satisfyingly cheffy jaunt around the Eastern Mediterranean, all without leaving Marrickville.
65-69 Addison Road, Marrickville
Ph: (02) 9569 3163