Sydney Turkish restaurant, Efendy, is celebrating its 10th birthday by releasing a new charcoal-focused menu.
A recent trip to his home country inspired chef Somer Sivrioglu to introduce charcoal grilling – a common sight in street stalls and restaurants across Turkey – at Efendy.
“Although this is the oldest cooking method of civilisation, it is one of the hardest. On a recent trip to Istanbul I visited Zubeyir, a restaurant in Istanbul that cooks on charcoal in front of guests, so that I could learn more about managing the fire. The secret to cooking with coals and capturing the smoky flavours is to have no flame and just the glowing embers,” said Sivrioglu.
Efendy’s new menu features dishes inspired by charcoal Kebap restaurants around South East Anatolia.
“In Turkey, charcoal kebap culture is so strong, there are more than 100 versions. There’s the familiar doner Kebap and the Adana Kebap right through to less known types made with quail, livers, sweetbreads and small fish,” Sivrioglu said.
“Charcoal had a really bad wrap in the 70s for being harmful. This was due to chefs having a lack of experience with this method as they would try and cook before the charcoal was 100 percent burnt,” Sivrioglu told Hospitality. “The correct way to use this method is to burn the charcoal completely and then cook on its embers – this is the healthier cooking method. To get my team familiar with charcoal cooking, we worked for a week to fine-tune the menu and get familiar with the new charcoal pit and pulleys.”
Before launching the new menu, Sivrioglu had to make some changes back-of-house, including investing in a new charcoal pit, extending the charcoal mangal for kebap making, covering the walls with stainless steel for extra heat resistance and strengthening the exhaust fan suction.
The charcoal feast set menu includes a selection of cold meze recipes to start, followed by a spread of meats cooked over charcoal. Adana style lamb kebap; chicken thigh fillet; beef and pistachio kofte; and lamb shoulder tandir are served with a side of grilled vegetables. Dessert is a ‘Turkish mess’ of merengue, cream, berries, rose and pistachio.