Anason, the first permanent restaurant at Barangaroo has just opened this week. The venue by renowned Chef and Anatolia Cookbook Author, Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy Restaurant brings a touch of Turkey to Wulugul Walk’s harbourfront location.
The venue’s design by interior architect George Livissianis evokes a seaside theme with deep blue colours, fresh whites, neutral tones with concrete, steel and mirror elements.
Simit Cart *
A Simit Cart strategically placed outside the venue brings a touch of nostalgia, particularly if you’ve been to Turkey and bought the circular sesame bread from a street vendor.
Anason is not a replica of the well-loved Efendy in Balmain. The concept is that of a meyhane, a Turkish restaurant serving mezze and alcoholic beverages such as raki, wine and beer. Anason challenges what you know about Turkish restaurants in Sydney and injects vitality into a culturally rich cuisine often associated with the ubiquitous kebab.
The new and modern take on Turkish food is brought by a team of young Turkish chefs: Murat Buvan from Melbourne’s Attica, Ozge Donmezoglu, head chef at Gram and research chef at Refika’s Kitchen, both in Istanbul; and Inal Erdener of Alancha in Turkey’s Cesme, and 29 in Istanbul.
The cocktail list by renowned bartender, Quynh Nguyen (previously at China Diner, Luis Tans and Toko in Dubai) has been meticulously designed to give a point of difference. You won’t find the drinks elsewhere and here, there’s a synergy between the kitchen and the bar.
Anason Spring Punch
The Anason Spring Punch ($16) is a refreshing sundowner that makes a good start as you peruse the temptations on the menu. The easy-drinking mix of fino sherry, raki, dry vermouth with fresh berries and citrus, rose syrup, pickled carrot and turnip vinegar is similar to a shrub, with a fine balance of fruit and acidity with just a hint of the aniseed from the raki.
Artichoke and Avocado Margarita
The Artichoke and Avocado Margarita is a unique creation of tequila, avocado puree, cynar and isot chilli salt. The combination of ingredients may intrigue at first but they come together beautifully in an aperitif style cocktail. The creamy drink delivers a good kick of tequila with artichoke from the cynar on the back palate and hit of chilli from the salted rim.
Yeni Raki Mezze
Mezze and raki make the best of friends and at Anason, you’ll find three type of the anise-flavoured spirit: the traditional Yeni Raki, the lighter triple distilled Siyah Efe and Tekirdag Gold, a softer barrel aged version with a lighter flavour.
Order a glass and it comes in a circular metal tray to keep it cold with ice on the side. Traditionally, you sip it on ice but you can add a little water to dilute which turns the it cloudy. Order the Yani Raki Mezze and you get a side of Turkish feta cheese and melon with thyme.
From mezze to mains, the food menu at Anason is listed from small plates or individual portions to larger and more substantial dishes.
Armenian style Mussel Dolma ($3 each) is quintessential street food in Turkey. Each plump mussel is stuffed with aromatic rice with herbs and spices served on a shell which you scoop to eat.
Sesame Ring Simit ($6 each) is a type of circular bread covered in sesame seed often eaten at breakfast. It’s made in-house and served warm with a savoury, tarragon flavoured labne.
The cuisine of Anatolia draws various influences from neighbouring civilisations, Arab, Armenian, Assyrian and so forth and it’s always good to see Lahmacun ($9) on the menu. Lahmacun is well known to Armenians, Lebanese and Turks, each has its own variation. Here, the flat bread is layered with a spicy lamb mince and topped with sumac salad. Roll it up and take a bite. This is one dish we recommend not to be shared.
Salmon Pastirma with Zucchini, Chilli ($21) is set to be the most instagrammed dish but don’t expect it to be anything like smoked salmon. The salmon is prepared pastirma style but unlike the beef counterpart, it’s not air dried. The salmon is cured and covered in rough salt and sugar for three days, then coated with spices (fenugreek, cumin, sweet paprika, capsicum paste and garlic), rubbed, then covered with a cheese cloth and kept in colander for 4 days. It takes one week, Somer explains. The salmon gets a lovely spicy flavour with the fenugreek standing out while the zucchini flowers and thinly-sliced baby zucchini cuts through the oiliness of the fish.
Stuffed Calamari, Shanklish, Avo Ganush
If you order the Stuffed Calamari, Shanklish, Avo Ganush ($24), you may not want to share it. The calamari is ever so tender to the bite, filled with spicy shanklish cheese, mint and chilli, creamy avoado and comes bursting with flavour. A dish that is a tough act to follow.
Lamb fillet, Eggplant Begendi
The Lamb Fillet with Eggplant Begendi ($26) simply melts in the mouth with the richness of the meat and the smokiness of the mashed eggplant.
Turkish Coffee Ice Cream
Desserts are not to be missed at Anason, particularly the Turkish Coffee, Dark Chocolate and Cardamon Ice Cream ($12). Served in a traditional Turkish copper coffee pot, the mastic based ice cream is bursting with flavours of cardamom and chocolate.
Sutlac, Burnet Rice Pudding
Alternatively, try the Sutlac ($14), a burnt rice pudding that’s so light in texture, topped with crumbled hazelnut and dried berries.
Turkish Espresso Martini
You could end the meal with Turkish coffee or order the Turkish Espresso Martini ($18) made with rum, raki, Turkish coffee, sumac syrup and chocolate bitters with a dusting of sumac on top. Not too heavy on the coffee as you might expect, the aniseed flavour makes the drink. Sip it through the sumac and it adds another dimension with tartness and berries.
From mezze to mains, without a kebab in sight, the Anason experience transports you to the shores of the Bosphorus taking your taste buds on a journey to Anatolia. For those who know and love Turkish cuisine or those who are just discovering its flavours, let the feast begin.
* Photo Credit: Supplied. Other photography © by Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9188 1581
Article updated 3 March 2016.
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