An intimate 35-seat Turkish diner based on the ocakbasi restaurants in Istanbul.
July 19, 2022
Located on the once-again bustling Bayswater Road, Turkish fine diner Izgara comes from the team behind Above Par and Malika Bakehouse. The sleek Potts Point eatery arrived in late June 2022 with share plates and grilled meat at the heart of its menu.
The restaurant is the handy work of co-owners Efe Topuzlu and Ozgur Sefkatli of Wondrous Entertainment. The pair wanted to emulate the ocakbasi restaurants of Istanbul, where Topuzlu's family ran a similar eatery during his teenage years. Ocakbasi restaurants refer to venues where chefs cook in front of the diners — an intimacy that Izgara has created by placing the kitchen in the centre of the dining room.
Izgara means grill in Turkish, a fitting name for a venue where the grill is always firing. Meat-lovers can opt for reserved mains like 250-gram scotch fillet ($46) or shaved lamb backstrap served in iskender ($52), a regional west-Turkish dish in which the lamb is placed on top of fried pita bites with butter and yoghurt; or let loose with 800 grams of mb3+ rib-eye on the bone for a cool $160.
The real highlights of the menu, however, are found on the Wild, Snacks and Oven Baked sections of the menu. The best way to tackle the meal is to order a selection of plates to share. Once you kick the meal off with oysters ($36-72) or kingfish ($36), top picks from the starters include a creamy smoked eggplant, maras pepper and garlic yoghurt dip ($18); fried zucchini flowers stuffed with harissa ricotta and aged kasar cheese ($32); and the Yamba tiger prawns which are lit up by a flavourful spiced prawn butter ($38). Plus, the fresh gavurdagi salad ($15) combining olives, walnuts, tomato and pomegranate is a mush-try addition.
The drinks list is also impressive. Cocktails are short but sweet, with just four options on the menu including a tasty dried apricot sour. The wine list on the other hand, is expansive — reaching from around the country and all over Europe including Turkey. If you're reaching for a bottle to share with the table, it's hard to go past the Doluca from Ankara, Turkey.
Images: Scott Ehler