Anason on the Barangaroo waterfront promenade catches your eye with their charming meze cart and blue and white themed furniture evoking a Parisian sidewalk cafe – but the smell of their fresh meze should give away the Turkish share plate menu on offer here.
Anason is the newest venture of the team behind the successful Efendy restaurant in Balmain. Most of their seating is outside, but on the rainy day that we visited we were lucky to be seated inside on bar stools, with the large blue windows opening out onto the restaurant to give us a nice view over the bustling space.
White Cod Roe Tarama Dip $16 and Saj Pita Bread, $3
We started off with their White Cod Roe Tarama dip which was divine – the rich flavour of the roe and garlic was offset by some zestiness from some finger limes. The dip comes with some crunchy simit chips, but we decided to go for their Saj Pita Bread which was a good choice as the super soft bread soaked up the flavours of the dip well, though the interesting shape of the vessel that the dip was served in made it a bit of a challenge to get the last bits of the dip out.
Next up, we had their Charcoal Octopus which the friendly waiter recommended as one of their signature dishes. The octopus was very tender and had a nice smoky flavour to it, though the tomato ezme sauce that it was served with was unexpectedly sour.
Charcoal Octopus, $26
We shared their Hanger Fillet which was cooked Iskender style, with the soft slices of grilled beef paired with dollops of garlic sauce and a tangy tomato sauce.
Hanger Fillet, iskender style, $38
Moving onto the desserts – these were actually even more impressive than the mains and we’re lucky that we have a second stomach for dessert as we ended up having 3 desserts to match the number of savoury share plates we had! We started off the sweet treats with a couple of bite sized Pistachio Baklava, carefully air freighted over from Imam Cagdas, Gaziantep in Turkey and tasting just as we remember, the crisp layers of pastry infused with the sticky pistachio flavour.
Baklava, $4 each
The baklava set the tone for the next dessert, which was the Kunefe that is cooked to order and well worth the 15 minute wait (which we filled with the baklava anyway). This delicious blend of chocolate, hazelnut crunchy kadayif and an intriguing feta ice cream was decadent without being overwhelming.
Last but not least, we were surprised by the kind waiter who had prepared a special birthday treat for my dining companion after we told him that she was celebrating being a year older – the spectacular Turkish Mess is on the dessert menu but jazzed up with some sparklers tonight to mark the occasion. I didn’t manage to get a clear photo of this one with all the excitement, but the Turkish Mess was an explosion of creamy and fruity flavours thanks to the mastika cream, berries and grapes, cut through with shards of crunchy meringue and a dash of rose liqueur for an exotic touch.
We’re fans of the top service, shiny new waterfront location and interesting menu at Anason, though some of the flavours in the dishes may challenge your tastebuds a bit as they are stronger than usual. The excellent desserts were the unexpected stars of the show and are best enjoyed with some of their Turkish apple tea.