Sefa Kitchen proves Middle Eastern cuisine to be an unarguable delight.

Sefa Kitchen proves Middle Eastern cuisine to be an unarguable delight. It's warm, it's welcoming and its menu has been created to share. Owner Utku Ayhan and head chef Simon Zalloua (ex Rockpool) offer modern interpretations of traditional Middle Eastern dishes they themselves indulged as youngsters.

The digs are impressive. The exposed brick walls offer a stylish contrast to the retro, iznik-style tiles that serve as the bar's skin. In fact, if you click onto Sefa Kitchen's Facebook page, Utku and wife Sally have documented the place's transformation. Definitely worth a look.

Now let's get down to business. We began with a spiced watermelon Mojito ($17) made from Captain Morgan spiced rum, lime, mint, ginger, lemongrass and of course watermelon. It was good and a solid option if you find regular Mojitos a little too sweet. But the Efes Pilsen, Turkish beer, was cool, crisp and a certain winner ($7.50). After a friendly explanation of what's hot and what's what food-wise, we ordered our feed accompanied by a bottle of 2009 Pinot Gamey ($43), which was nothing but a pleasure to drink throughout.

Lettuce crudités with whipped goats curd ($9) and the basturma (an Anatolian air-dried cured beef) with hommus and burnt butter ($12) arrived first alongside a portion of coriander-seasoned potatoes ($12). The curd was lovely, while the burnt butter flavour alongside the basturma's spices was like a hafla in your mouth. The potatoes though, blanched, fried at 120 degrees and then again at 180, were out of this world.

After an interval, next came a chunk of haloumi ($13), swimming in honey and sprinkled with za'atar (a common Middle Eastern spice mixture) and the beef short rib fasoullia ($24). The former, although tasty, could have done with less honey, but the beef was bang on.

Dessert was Turkish delight ($14) — it had to be done — and the flamed cardamom crème brulee ($14). You'd only really need one, but both were as good as each other and totally worth the food baby.

With future plans to turn the large grassy patch outback into a beer garden, it's clear these guys know what they're doing. An absolute testament to Middle Eastern cuisine here in Sydney, Sefa Kitchen is utterly unavoidable and utterly delightful.

Published on December 10, 2012 by Jack Arthur Smith

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