Efendy Modern Turkish Restaurant in Balmain
We arrived at lunchtime on a Saturday and were lucky to find a table outside in the garden.
Inside and outside Efendy was packed with couples and groups chatting away – mostly talking about how great their food was. We didn’t wait too long for our orders. Our server was very polite and friendly and gave us plenty of napkins unlike many other restaurants nowadays do.
Inside Efendy, you will see a collage of old Turkish movie posters on the wall which will remind you of the Italian movie posters in Italian trattorias. The walls, the furniture all have warm colours. The tables with white linen covers, comfortable brown oak chairs – this is quite marginal to the stereotypical Turkish restaurant image in Australia (which can be called middle-eastern-kitsch) and certainly looks more like a restaurant from an upmarket Istanbul suburb.
To judge a Turkish restaurant, I always look at 3 things; the quality of the lamb, the freshness of the vegetables and the bread. At Efendy these three were excellent.
Efendy’s grilled lamb’s liver served with red onion and sumac salad plays like a classic metamorphosis illusion – how else could you transform such unassuming pieces of food into something so tender and tasty that you’re bound to dream about it afterward for days?
Their kebab dish, Iskender Kebab, tastes way out of the ordinary. Even the people of Bursa, the Iskender kebab’s birthplace, don’t make Iskender Kebab as tasty and soul-satisfying and as magical, as Efendy’s.
Efendy also boasts a cheeky collection of Turkish cocktails and liqueurs available every day at their mezebar. Nuri Alco vodka is named after the legendary antagonist of 80’s Turkish movies Nuri Alco who would offer strong alcoholic drinks to his female victims in the form of an innocent sweet fizzy drink. Narsist Bacardi features pomegranate molasses, used in Turkish desserts and salads. Vishne is sour-cherry flavoured vodka with sour-cherry juice being another popular Turkish refreshment. Mastika the mastic liquor is made from a shrub native to the Mediterranean region, Malatya (named after the apricot capital of Turkey) contains apricots nectar and uludag fizzy lemonade. Yolluk is a half shot raki in a teacup (Turkish tea cup that is)
Mezebar is open for dinner and drinks 7 nights and for lunch on the weekends. No bookings necessary for the Mezebar for under 6 pax.
Everything about Efendy was brilliant. It’s a new benchmark in our minds for the real Turkish cuisine.
Location: 79 Elliott St, Balmain, NSW 2041
Price: Mains start from 27, banquet meals start from 58 per person
Payment methods: Amex, Cash, Mastercard, Visa
Hours: Restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday for dinner only. The mezebar is open 7 nights (from friday to Sunday lunch and Sunday Van breakfast)
Parking: Plenty of on-street parking nearby