Before hip suburban cafes started arranging fried eggs and bacon onto heaving breakfast platters, Turkish people laid out rich, diverse spreads for their morning meal, using ingredients better suited to a long, slow grazing meal.
In Turkey, breakfast is called kahvaltı, which means “before coffee”, though at Efendy they let me smash mine with a Turkish Coffee Martini ($18). It’s traditionally enjoyed with tea, and they offer up three different types, all at five bucks a glass.
Efendy takes breakfast regional with their Van Breakfast Feast ($35/person), named for the city of Van on Turkey’s eastern border. Beyond breakfast joints and cheese, the city is famous for its cats, known as Turkish Vans, and the lake (Van Gölü) they’re purported to have swum across when Noah threw them off his ark (if their romanticised history is to be believed).
Our table is quickly laden with boards bearing Anatolian cheeses, including string haloumi, olives, spreads including house-made sour cherry jam, fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits.
A separate platter of Turkish baked goods, like simit (a circular bagel-like bread coated in sesame seeds), give you something to try out those spreads on. Other baked goods, like pogaca - savoury pastries, with fillings like parsley and fetta - are good just popped straight into your mouth.
Mixing and matching is part of the adventure here, though I will tell you the grill-marked halloumi is particularly nice with honey and clotted cream. What’s more successful about a Turkish breakfast feast than many of the newer breakfast platters I’ve seen, is that egg dishes, like menemen, arrive separately when they are ready, rather than being stone cold after being artfully arranged with your bacon and hashbrowns. Made using eggs, tomato, green peppers and spices, and sprinkled with white cheese, the menemen here is a bit blander than versions I’ve enjoyed more in other places.
The sucuk (spicy dry sausage) on the other hand, is the tastiest I’ve eaten, particularly wrapped in warm rounds of Turkish flatbread. An extra buck buys you another piece if you go through it too quickly, like our table did. And before you even think about missing bacon, head back to the board and wrap your lips around a tasty curl of pastirma - Turkish air-dried cured beef – I reckon it scratches a similar itch.
With the weather outside near cyclonic, we lingered over our breakfast purported to contain thirty different items, enjoying time with friends in the softly hued blue dining room.
Punctuating any breaks in conversation with another round of cocktails, we worked out way through the breakfast-friendly list. Combining prosecco, pomegranate juice and a dash of Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Narosa ($15) provided a particularly easy way to drink our way through a super-wet Sunday morning.
79 Elliott Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9810 5466
NOTE: You can see previous reviews of this venue HERE, HERE and HERE.