Anason @ Sydney

Barangaroo is an urban renewal project, of land that was once a significant area of Sydney’s shipping and stevedoring history. The maritime history of this prime real estate on the stunning Sydney Harbour has been closed off to the public for more than 100 years. Anason is the first permanent restaurant at Barangaroo and is located on Wulugul Wharf of Barangaroo.

Somer Sivrioglu, Efendy head chef and owner, is behind Anason, a vegetable, seafood and meze-driven Turkish bar at Barangaroo.

He’s calling it a modern meyhane, a traditional Turkish bar or restaurant. It’s a classic eatery concept recently reclaimed by young, experimental chefs, particularly in Istanbul. Sivrioglu, like a culinary godfather, asked four young, ambitious chefs to join and show off their ideas and cuisine.

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Appetisers

The restaurant’s centrepiece is the custom-built simit (a ring-shaped, sesame-sprinkled bread) oven. Anason serves it take away with Turkish coffee (specially made from Ministry of Coffee with Yemeni beans) and tea from a simit cart imported from Turkey.

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Atom

Atom; marash chillies, burnt butter, strained yogurt – Strained yogurt is similar to Greek yogurt. Chilli flakes were fried in butter to a caramelised state and then put as the main condiment of the yoghurt. This is a great dip for the pita bread, tangy, spicy, savoury.

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Pumpkin humus

Pumpkin humus, crispy chickpeas, pepitas – Humus is usually made with chickpea. Anason used pumpkin in addition to chickpea to give the humus a modern twist to the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern staple. Topped with crispy chickpeas that tasted like the ones that our favourite childhood kacang puteh man sold in their cone funnel, and pepitas which is essentially a shell-less pumpkin seed and sumac, I find the humus a bit too dry.

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Saj pita bread

Saj pita bread, zahter butter– Saj is an unleavened bread that is a staple in Middle East around Lebanon, Syrian and Jordan, and would be also known as Lebanese or Syrian bread. I believe this would be the closest to the unleavened bread that we see in modern time vs those described in the Bible. Pita bread, on the other hand, is made with yeast and therefore “leavened”, making a fluffy bread. But because both have a pocket that can be used to hold ingredients, they are often mixed up or referred together.

So the term Saj pita bread is an oxymoron. The only thing that is similar is the round shaped the they have made the bread. (PS: Anason changed the name later to just Pide or Pita, dropping the reference to Saj.)

Zahtar is a popular blend of seasonings throughout Turkey, Northern Africa and Middle Eastern cuisine. It consists of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds and is used to flavor various types of food including meats and vegetables. They used melted butter spiced with zahtar to add that taste profile that is truly middle eastern.

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Charcoal octopus

Charcoal octopus, witlof, tomato ezme – I am always amused as how chefs used the same ingredients but different languages to make a simple dish sounds exotic. Witlof is Belgian endive, a little bitter to taste and usually used in a salad. Ezme is like a chopped salad but finer, held together with pomegranate molasses and used as a dip or salad dressing. The octopus has been grilled to perfection and when combined with the spicy, tangy ezme, it all came together well.

Here’s a recipe for the ezme.

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Charred cauliflower

Charred cauliflower, dukkah, chickpeas, tomato delight – There are countless recipes for dukkah. Just about every mixture includes nuts (most often hazelnuts, but various other kinds may be used alone or in combination), sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin. To this, a cook might add dried thyme, mint, peppercorns, or various other sweet, hot, and savory herbs and spices.

I never thought cauliflower when thrown on a BBQ could be so delicious simply with a splash of olive oil and spice like sukkah. Cauliflower is one of the most underrated vegetables. Its unique ability to absorb flavour without using its own character makes it both versatile and perfect as a vehicle for beautiful spices. Boiled chickpeas were added to give an additional texture to the dish.

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Lamb shoulder tandir

Lamb shoulder tandir, smoked isot yogurt – ‘Kuzu tandır’ is the most beloved lamb dish in Turkish cuisine. It’s lamb so fragrant and tender, it falls away from the bone and melts in your mouth like cotton candy.

Its name, ‘tandır,’ comes from the ancient technique of cooking meat in a special oven made from a pit in the soil. This technique was used for centuries by the Seljuk Turks and their ancestors from central Asia. It’s still seen in Turkey, Greece, the Caucasus, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan today. That’s the origins of the Indian tandoori.

Isot pepper is a dried Turkish chili pepper that has a smoky, raisin-like taste. Sprinked onto the Greek yogurt, it became the perfect condiment with lamb tandir instead of the usual mint yoghurt combination.

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Veal liver, Albanian style

Veal liver, Albanian style (in Turkish, Arnavut ciğer) – although it’s Albanian, it’s found all over Turkey. Historically, this dish dates back to the times of the Ottoman Empire which stretched far and wide from Vienna to the Yemen including Albania. At the hub of culinary matters lay the vast kitchens of Topkapi Palace where food from all corners of the empire was prepared and served. In fact, to this day Turkish liver done in this way can be found over many regions and not just in Turkey.

The liver is generally cubed as opposed to sliced, and the accompanying onions are always uncooked with parsley and sumac. The organ taste of liver is removed by seasoning of red pepper, cumin, thyme, black pepper and garlic. Be careful as liver can be a tad too oily, always order this as a maze for sharing.

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Anason

I never expect to have a Bosphorous Feast at Barangaroo, when my main purpose was to visit Sydney’s newest harbourside precinct. There is nothing like a clear and sunny Australian day to visit a modern Istanbul style meze bar. Anason lived up to the expectation and I looked forward to more visits in the future.

Anason
5/23 Barangaroo Avenue Barangaroo, NSW 2000 Australia
Tel : 02 9188 1581

http://www.anason.com.au/

Date Visited : Mar 2017

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