With the winter chill well and truly upon us, one way of staying warm is to eat lots of meat! Which brings us to Efendy, an authentic Turkish restaurant tucked away in the heart of Balmain where we are sampling a large variety of their dishes tonight.
Efendy is a 3-storey restaurant featuring a different atmosphere on each level – the bottom floor is a casual bar, the middle floor is a casual restaurant and the top floor is decked out in a more elegant way with white coloured furnishings. This is actually my first time trying Turkish food so I have no expectations, but I am told that Efendy’s dishes are inspired by the Taksim and Beyoglu districts of Istanbul, and are designed to share amongst groups. Our dishes are specially prepared for our party of food bloggers tonight, so the pictures/pricing should be used indicatively only as I suspect some dishes were resized to the number of people on our table.
Tektek shots (Left: Narcist, Right: Mastika) – $5
We start off the night with some cocktails served in small glasses, slightly bigger than a shot glass. The Narcist shot consists of bacardi, pomegranate molasses, fresh mint and pomegranate seeds and is sweet and fruity, a great choice for those preferring fruit-based cocktails. The Mastika shot is slightly crisper, thanks to the lemon and cucumber in this mixed with Hendricks gin and mastic liquor.
Pide bread – $2.50 each
Pomegranate Hummus – $12
Babaganoush – $12
Next comes out an assortment of cold mezes (small dishes) which are accompanied with freshly baked pide bread. The pomegranate hummus confuses us all as it is a light green/slate in colour and doesn’t taste like pomegranate, other than the seeds sitting on top. I find it slightly bitter with sweet undertones thanks to the pomegranate seeds. The babaganush is super creamy and I find it tastes a bit like capsicum instead of eggplant (ok my taste buds have gone weird here!!!). The chorizo adds an extra layer of flavour and this dip is my preferred one to go with the breads. These dips are a great starter and we mop them clean with the pide breads in no time – absolutely delicious!
Lamb’s liver, red onion, sumac salad – $14
The pan fried lamb’s liver comes out next and despite it being a less commonly eaten body part, it is quite tasty (what fried meat isn’t?). It is crispy on the outside and soft on in the inside, going well with the crunchy red onions.
Dried eggplant shells dolma, lamb, bulgar, sumac molasses – $16
Next are the eggplant shells which are stuffed with lamb mince and kidney beans. I find the sauce quite tomatoey but slightly too sour for my liking.
Fisherman’s Stew – $18
The fisherman’s stew comes out next which features a hearty collection of prawns, mussels, artichoke, okra and shanklish cheese. It is great for the cold weather and the stew has rendered the okra soft and mushy, which is perfect for me as I love soggy vegetables!
Loquat Kebab (seasonal) – $18
Next comes out the loquat kebab which is a seasonal dish, appearing only for three weeks in May/June and again this coming Spring time. The loquat fruit is very juicy and reminds me of a lychee but not as sweet. The kebab filling consists of lamb again, with a tomatey base of beans. It is an amazing dish and it’s a shame it’s seasonal with limited availability!
Wild rocket, tomato, walnut, pomegranate, feta spoon salad – $10
We take a break from all the meat with a fresh salad. It is vibrant in colour and the taste reflects this, from a vinaigrette dressing, sweet pomegranate and crunchy walnuts, onion, cucumber and tomato. It goes down well and breaks down all the meat we’ve been eating.
Pastirma and kashar cheese pachanga borek – $8
The pachanga borek comes out next which is essentially a fried seasoned beef and cheese pocket. It is crispy on the outside with moist and melted cheese inside.
Beef leaf kebap, iskender sauce, yogurt, pide – $20
After this is a beef kebab, wrapped in pide bread. I find the meat has rendered the bread slightly soggy but it is still delicious thanks to the spices and chilli. There is also tomatoes and onions hidden inside the pide bread.
Veal kofte, white bean piyaz – $16
Just when we thought we were done, we had one last veal dish come out which consisted of a kofte on top of a white bean salad. The veal is juicy and tender and goes well with the creamy salad, which also has some crunch from the Spanish onions.
Dessert meze plate- $12
To finish the night on a sweet note, we get a dessert platter consisting of a pistachio and almond milk pudding, candied pumpkin and baklava. The pudding is creamy and crunchy and has a soft bed of fairy floss on top. Candied pumpkin is what struck my interest as I haven’t heard of this before, and it doesn’t taste like normal pumpkin at all. It is crunchy with a thick tahini sauce (similar to sesame) on top and is quite interesting to eat as the sauce sort of sticks to your tongue.
By this stage we are stuffed full and some of the other bloggers on our table are joking of getting meat sweats later! It’s definitely a group consensus that the food here is amazing and a must visit for meat lovers! I’m super satisfied and I’d definitely come back in the future, but if you make it to Efendy, make sure to come with a group of friends as all the plates are best shared.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Efendy
79 Elliott St, Balmain NSW 2041
Ph: (02) 9810 5466