There are three ways to eat at the Terminus. If you’re peckish, go for a bar snack, such as a rolled cigar ‘borek’ (pastry filled with mushroom and three cheeses) or grilled sumac-cured calamari with chickpeas and sorrel. If you’re starving — but don’t want to share — choose a poshed-up pub classic, like fried flathead with chips and aioli or the mighty Terminus burger. And, if you’re ready to settle in with some friends, order share plates. The slow-roasted, oyster-cut lamb shoulder with smoky eggplant caviar and pickles is hard to go past.
The menu reflects head chef Ozcan’s Turkish origins, as well as his deep knowledge of Mediterranean and Australian fare. “Nearly every dish is a signature, because of the mix of Australian influences and Mediterranean flavours and spices,” he says.
On weekends, the courtyard will host charcoal grill cook-ups. Ozcan’s planning on experimenting with a variety of meats and a range of international cuisines, including Lebanese, Greek, Tunisian and Japanese. Also keep an eye out for special events, such as one-off dinners featuring guest chefs.
To match Ozcan’s creations, there’s a smart accessibly priced, international wine list, curated by Clarke. At one end is an easy-drinking French rosé and a big Barossan grenache, and, at the other, a just-released Mumm Grand Cordon. In between lie a Mornington Peninsula pinot gris made by Ocean’s Eight — which Clarke describes as “sensational” — as well as a left-of-field rosé from Sonoma County in California and an organic chardonnay by Frisky Farmer, South Australia.
“I worked hard to make sure there’s something for everybody,” said Clarke. “I want people to feel welcome and to be able to come regularly, because they’re not priced out of the market.”
Meanwhile, the cocktail list is made up of creative takes on classics. The Terminus Sour, for example, is Chivas 12 Whisky and Pernod Absinthe, shaken with fresh lemon juice and house-made thyme syrup, then strained over ice. Then there’s the Blood Orange Margarita: Altos Plata tequila, Solerno Blood orange liqueur and Campari shaken with fresh lime juice and a dash of agave syrup, then strained. You’re welcome to drink your favourite cocktail wherever you like, but, if you’re looking for the best spot to linger and chat, climb up the staircase to Vera’s.
CHEF’S PICK: FIVE THINGS TO ORDER
So what should you order? Ozcan has championed this menu, so we thought he’d be the best person to ask. Here are five picks from the Terminus menu.