29 March 2010

Efendy: Lamb Testicles and other authentic Turkish meze, Balmain (28 Mar 2010)

79 Elliott Street, Balmain NSW 2041

Turkish Meze Degustation

It was only last week I was reading about Not Quite Nigella's visit to the Wild Foods Festival in New Zealand and freaking out about the Mountain Oysters aka sheep testicles and how grossed out it made me feel about eating them. Well my fears of eating such an acquired dish has now been accomplished and I'm thankful of being challenged to try it — Efendy sure know how to cook them. Tonight was a test dinner with Efendy to discuss the blogging event coming up this Easter Sunday 4 April. Efendy has generously provided a table for 16 food bloggers (including myself) so this means all the available bloggers that commented before the lucky draw deadline will now be on the guest list — I'll be contacting you all individually with final details.

The blogging event dinner will include most of the cold and hot meze dishes I tried except for the rolled chicken and veal dish as we felt they were a bit too substantial in size. Efendy are trying to keep all the samplings more bite sized so you get to try more of them including desserts. There will also be some modifications, extras and vegetarian side dishes to supplement all the meat and seafood mezes. An if you're up for it there'll be the very alcoholic and traditional Raki and of course Lamb Testicles which smell and taste a bit like liver and look and has the texture of a very soft chicken meat — actually quite nice if you don't think about what it is too much. It's worthy of introducing my new label, the SIMON TASTE CHALLENGE :-).

My absolute favourite of the mezes is the Kadayifli Karides (Kataifi pastry wrapped Hervy Bay prawns, walnut capscium muhammara). Decent sized prawns wrapped in a kataifi pastry usually used for desserts. The walnut capscium muhammara had a nice taste bud kick to it — a drizzle of lemon makes it a winner. The Fava (Broad bean puree, sill, extra virgin Ayvalik olive oil) is an interesting dish which has silky smooth consistency and impressively holds it's shape like a frittata. I love the look of the Hamsi Marine (Black Sea sardines with tomato ezme) which aren't too salty like anchovies and go well with the fresh mint. The Kofte was moist and juicy as it should be with the right amount of spice for me. It's hard to resist the crispy shell of the Pacanga Boregi with tasty pastirma and kashar cheese inside. The Kuzu Tandir has some lovely 7 hour brasied Bultarra Saltbush Lamb shoulder — I remember Bultarra had a stand at Taste of Sydney 2010.

Now there always seems to be room for dessert no matter how full you are and the Hand rolled walnut baklava is some of the best I've tried and apparently is made by the owner of Efendy with lots of Turkish love and dedication to following a traditional recipe — not to be missed. The interesting Milky gullach with rose water and pomegranate has pudding like consistency and is very flavoursome with the rose water which I adore. The last time I had Kazandibi (Burnt cinnamon and mastic pudding, marash ice cream) was at Mado Cafe in Auburn which I didn't really enjoy but I found this one much better and palatable. I think this one had firmer consistency and I could appreciate the smokey cinnamon taste better. The Apple tea with cinnamon bark is very sweet which seemed to go well with the desserts. A friend generously provided a bottle of Irongate Estate Sweet Shiraz 2008 to try. It had a lovely bouquet and was very drinkable with hardly any noticeable tannin. The flavour wasn't as robust as your usual Shiraz but it was nevertheless enjoyable to drink.

Other visits to Efendy:
4 April 2010 - 'Meze Journery to Istanbul' Food Bloggers Dinner Event
28 March 2010 - Turkish Meze, Apple tea, Baklava, Dana Sarma, Fava, Hamsi Marine, Kadayifli Karides, Kazandibi, Koc Yumurtasi, Kofte, Kuzu Tandir, Milky gullach
Pacanga Boregi, Patlican Salatasi, Pilic Sarma, Saksuka, Yeni Raki
6 March 2010 - Breakfast Meze, Incir Kaygana, Pacanga Boregi, Sucuk, Turkish delight
26 July 2009 - Kiymali, Sucuklu, Omlet, Kaygana

PROS: Authentic and tasty dishes, well presented, desserts are made onsite
CONS: So much food will fill the stomach
MUST TRY: Baklava, Kazandibi, Kadayifli Karides (prawns), Kofte, Pacanga Boreg and of course Koc Yumurtasi (lamb testicles) at least once.

Bread and olive oil and dukka

Patlican Salatasi: Smoked eggplant, capsicum and garlic

Saksuka: Traditional sauteed potato, zucchini, eggplant with mint yoghurt

Hamsi Marine: Black Sea sardines with tomato ezme

Fava: Broad bean puree, sill, extra virgin Ayvalik olive oil

Koc Yumurtasi: Pan-fried lamb testicles, roasted garlic and butter sauce

Kadayifli Karides: Kataifi pastry wrapped Hervy Bay prawns, walnut capscium muhammara

Pacanga Boregi: Pastirma, kashar cheese borek

Kofte: Village style lamb kofte, parsley, tomato piyaz

Pilic Sarma: Organic Thirlmere chicken rolled with aromatic rice, currant and pinenuts

Kuzu Tandir: 7 hour brasied Bultarra Saltbush Lamb shoulder, aromatic baldo rice, currant and pinenuts pilaf, pickled winter vegetables

Dana Sarma: Rock Valley veal filled with haloumi and asparagus, Dolma: Lamb mince and rice filled vine leaves

Kazandibi: Burnt cinnamon and mastic pudding, marash ice cream

Baklava: Hand rolled walnut baklava, Milky gullach, rose water, pomegranate, Traditional pistachio baklava

Traditional pistachio baklava

Hand rolled walnut baklava

Milky gullach, rose water, pomegranate

Apple tea

Yeni Raki

Yeni Raki goes milky when water is added

Irongate Estate Sweet Shiraz 2008 (received from a friend)


Phuoc'n Delicious said...

OMG! Bring it on! I can't wait for Sunday; it will be a day filled with feasting.. First up is an italian Easter lunch with the boy's family and then this! I'm in heaven.. :)

john@heneedsfood.com said...

What an amazing spread and I can't wait to give testicles a go on Sunday! Can't wait!

Angela said...

Good on you Simon to try the lamb testicles ! I guess I wouldn't mind trying it if it's given to me.

Sarah Winehouse said...

YUUUUUMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!! YUUUUMMM! I even called Efendy last week to ask them a few questions! Unfortunately I may be away for Easter Sunday! Anyway I hope you have even extra fun for me :) Efendy!!!!! Btw I read ur pendolino post - I was there for dinner couple months ago - wish I knew bout their Bacon !

Sarah Winehouse said...

could u send me a message w ur e-mail on twitter.com/sarawinehouse ?

Portuguese Kitchen said...

Wow the food looks so amazing.Theirs are real modern twist to some old favorites. I'm so impressed.

Simon Leong said...

hi phouc, your belly is going to me one very full tummy.

hi john, glad to hear you're going to try the testicles. sounds so wrong though doesn't it :-)

hi angela, i'm not a huge offal fan but when it's presented in such a nice way it certainly helps to make it more appetising.

hi sarah, it's a pity you're not free but i hope your eater break is a good one. BTW pendolino was the venue for the bacon but they actually don't make their own bacon. look out for the winning bacon though. i'm actually not sure where you get it from so you might have to contact the supplier directly.

hi Portuguese Kitchen, hopefully the flavours are still traditional enough. hope you have a great easter break :-)

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