Turkish coffee cup - Gigibaba
Yummy Turkish mezze place. The servings may look microscopic but their flavours pack a punch!
We start with a hummus that's smoky and nutty from the tahini with a nice acidic tang from the dusting of sumac. Julia thought the garlic was a bit heavy handed, but it was just fine for me :)
Also nice and smoky was the smoked eggplant salad with basil and sweet roasted peppers. Great balance of lemon juice, sweetness from the peppers and the smoky eggplant.
Even something as simple as broadbeans braised in olive oil was good. We were all surprised that the broadbeans didn't need to be shelled nor double podded! Perhaps they were the tender kind, but they were good!
The quail was moist, tender, and packed full of flavour of garlic and cumin. Served with a simple tomato, parsley and radicchio salad, and a dollop of garlicky cacik, similar to Greek tzatziki. Perhaps distantly related to an Indian Tandoori. Maybe marinating it twice was what gave it that great flavour which could stand up to a nice smoky grill.
Next came our single sardine stuffed with pastirma, fetta and pinenuts, dusted with polenta perhaps, and deep fried, retaining the moistness of the fish. The fetta was a nice match for the oily sardine.
Then comes the Prawn Guvec. When told it comes in a claypot, I was expecting Spanish-style Gambas al Pil Pil, prawns in a garlic, chilli and olive oil. This was quite different! The sauce base was rich tomatoes with a zesty lemon finish. On top of this sat 3 large, fresh, plump prawns topped with hellim cheese (haloumi in Greek). Very nice!
After all that, when we asked about desserts, we were told of a chef's selection for AUD8 per head. Sure. Hit us! I got a Turkish coffee as well.
The saffron poached pear was perfectly paired with a lime yoghurt. While the hazelnut chocolate truffles were a bit rich and sweet, they were nice with a Turkish coffee, though that was a bit weak.
The most intriguing dessert was the grapefruit jelly with sahleb. I think she said salep. The starchy salep was studded with nuts and topped with a tangy and slightly bitter grapefruit jelly. It was soon but an empty cup!
Even though those dishes look small, 6 dishes, each of them for 4 people, bread, plus sweets were quite filling. The BBQ whole snapper at the next table did look good though, maybe next time ;)
102 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Ismail Tosun - the name’s Turkish, and that’s important - grew up in Melbourne but, as a chef, made a name for himself in Perth. Such a name, in fact, that in 2006 he was awarded Gourmet Traveller’s Best New Talent award. And then? Tosun, and the restaurant he made his name in, Eminem, disappeared.