It’s hard not to notice the grand stature of Balmain’s Efendy (meaning ‘gentleman’ in old Turkish). Situated at the corner of Darling and Elliott Streets, Istanbul-born owner and chef Somer Sivrioglu has transformed this historic Victorian mansion into a modern Turkish restaurant. With stained glass windows and an elegant courtyard with burgundy umbrellas and towering trees that extend through the balcony, Efendy is decorated with traditional ornaments and Turkish art. Efendy’s contemporary Turkish cuisine reflects Siviroglu’s commitment to quality sustainable produce, including lamb and beef from nearby Feather and Bone, chicken from the Southern Highland’s Thirlmere Farm and spices by Rozelle’s Herbies.
While groups can opt for the regional Anatolian Feast ($58 per person), it’s wise to start with a selection of meze, including Karides (king prawns wrapped in shredded pastry on a walnut and capsicum muhammara dip) and vegetarian friendly Mucver (a carrot, zucchini and feta puff topped with dill). For seasonal mains, try Pirzola (pistachio encrusted lamb cutlets on a smoky eggplant puree with a side of Gavurdagi, a vibrant salad of tomato, cucumber and pomegranate). Visit on weekend mornings for an authentic Turkish breakfast featuring freshly baked pide, hot and cold meze, cheese, olives, pistachio coffee and baklava.