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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Turkish delight: Plant-based Sydney pleasures

Steakhouses are two a penny. Asian restaurants? In abundance. Seafood specialists? So many.

But plant-based eateries focusing on the cuisine of Turkiye? Not so much.

Not only does renowned chef Somer Sivrioğlu’s eatery Maydanoz have a different food and wine vibe, it also offers excellent, informed service at a central Sydney location - just behind Wynyard station.

Even on a Monday night, Maydanoz (Turkish for parsley) is buzzing with several groups relishing the share plate offering.

It is a venue that is very much on-trend, with many individuals nowadays making efforts to reduce their meat and dairy intake.

I'm a protein man through and through but the flavours and textures on offer at Maydanoz are good enough to turn my head, while my vegetable-loving wife is in her element.

Anyone expecting simple flatbreads, kofte and meaty kebabs will find themselves out of their comfort zone - but in a good way.

The meze-style menu is a collaboration between Sivrioğlu (currently filming MasterChef in Turkiye) and his group executive chef Arman Uz, who is on duty the night we dine.

The menu features many dishes that would be cooked at home, not in restaurants, along the Aegean coast of western Turkiye, Uz tells us.

Guided by an excellent maitre 'd and a charming server, both very well informed about the menu, we sample dishes ranging from festive stone-baked bread with Pepe Saya butter, lentil kofte with lettuce leaf, radish, molasses and pickled chilli (a Turkish san choy bow), and salty and chewy barbecued Tilba haloumi with thyme honey and sesame. 

Lovers of dips will enjoy the whipped feta, pistachios, sweet and sour grapes with basil and dill, while mains included Brussel sprouts with , baba ganoush, pistachio and chilli, along with Imam Bayildi; eggplant, tomato, bullhorn, tamarind and green herbs. 

For those who cannot live without meat or fish, there are but two protein options: kingfish collar kebab with sumac onion, ezme salsa, and chicken with bulgur pilaf, chilli and tomato.

For adventurous drinkers, Australian wines are joined on the list by Turkish wines from the coastline stretching from Gallipoli on the north to Denizli on the south.

Think the likes of easy drinking styles including Isabey Sauvignon Blanc, Majestik Grenache and Kalecik Karasi Rosé, Sevilen Plato Kalecik Karasi, and Centum Syrah, all very reasonably priced by the glass.

There is also a good list of cocktails and beers.

Maydanoz is open for dinner Monday to Saturday from 5pm and lunch from Monday to Friday from noon. It is well worth a visit. 

See (02) 9262 3161 50 Carrington St, Sydney.

# The writer was a guest of Maydanoz 

and apple juice.

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