I went to Efendy on 30th December for a couples night out, with the missus, the sister-in-law and her husband. Efendy was their suggestion, as the Sydney locals.
I have to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to it. I'd been shown the degustation menu online and absolutely nothing appealed to me. I wouldn't ordinarily consider a Turkish restaurant, I don't eat hommus, I don't really like halloumi and I don't browse the aisles of Vintage Cellars for Turkish wine, so I didn't feel there was going to be much for me to enjoy.
I hate being wrong. I hate being proved wrong even more. But, there's no hiding from it - I was wrong and my sister-in-law was right.
The decor was inviting, with Turkish posters adorning the walls, plush seating and some non-invasive music tootling in the background. The place was packed, but the chatter of other tables was in no way disturbing. The service was warm and friendly, with our matching wines delivered promptly and well explained by the staff.
We all had the degustation menu, with matching wines. Although the first white wasn't that great on its own, it went well with the hommus and bread. I have to admit that the hommus was amazing. I couldn't get enough of it, and when we were brought additional bread to help finish off the dips, I greedily tucked into another two pieces of bread (a mistake that would become apparent later on).
The king prawns were fantastic, cooked to perfection and matched perfectly by the accompanying wine. My other half doesn't eat seafood, so she was served a broad bean mousse / parfait (I'm sure there's a technical name, but I don't know what it is). Not something we would ever think to order, but by all accounts it was excellent. We also still received four prawns, which was a pleasant touch.
The third course, a kind of minced lamb on a pizza-style base, was wonderfully spicy. But the biggest surprise was the quality of the accompanying wine, which tasted fantastic on its own. It was described as being close to Cabernet Sauvignon, but the colour seemed to light. However, once again I had been proved wrong. When the waiter noticed our surprise, he was happy to point out that the best was still to come.
The final savoury course was a veritable mountain of lamb, served in a kind of pastry dish that was created by the steam of the cooked lamb in a wonderful piece of table theatre. It was accompanied by a rocket, mint, fig and aged feta salad, with the feta strung to look almost like pasta and virtually unrecognisable. To finish it all there was a small dish of chilli jam. I felt you really needed the chilli jam to add to the flavour of the lamb.
At this point, the third piece of bread came back to haunt me. There was just so much lamb and I was full to bursting point. You certainly need a healthy appetite around the table for this one!
The real winner for this dish was the wine. A petit verdot '900' which was just exquisite. We were even treated to the remainder of the bottle, which was greatly appreciated!
I wasn't expecting much from the chef's dessert platter, so it wasn't a surprise that this was the least impressive course. I enjoyed the accompanying muscat though.
I would highly recommend the degustation menu for any sceptics out there. For a start, it saves you the job of working out what to expect on your plate. But it's also one of the best value meals I've ever had. $95 per person for a 5 course meal with matching wines is a genuine bargain in this instance. We weren't charged any extra for the additional bread or wine.
I highly recommend experiencing the amazing food and hospitality of this excellent restaurant.