After opening Cotham Dining in Kew in 2022, Ayhan Erkoc and Federico Perez Lopez turned the space next door into contemporary Turkish wine bar, Nazar. The bar aims to explore how Erkoc’s Turkish heritage intersects with his Australian upbringing.
He wants you to get a sense of that as soon as you walk in. Turkey is channelled through the aqua tiles behind the bar, rustic brick feature walls and, most notably, the huge blue string-art evil eye. (The word “nazar” refers to the evil eye in Turkish, Erkoc says, which is seen as a protective symbol to defy and conquer evil forces.) The Australian strand comes through native fauna, with gum-tree branches and leaves suspended from the ceiling.
Menu-wise, Erkoc wants to share the food his parents cooked for him – with a modern Australian spin. When explaining just what that means, he jumps straight to the crispy pumpkin dessert. Growing up, his parents would poach pumpkin in sugar syrup and serve it with cream and crushed pistachios. Here, Erkoc might make a pumpkin tuile (baked wafer), fill it with candied lemon and yoghurt mousse, and dip it in pistachio.
Back to savoury and you might find a riff on the classic Turkish breakfast dish of sujuk (a spicy dried sausage) and eggs, reimagined for the wine bar. Quail eggs might be coated in kataifi (shredded pastry) then fried, coated in sujuk powder and served with sujuk aioli. You might also enjoy fluffy woodfired flatbread with date butter and kebabs (with either beetroot, labneh and rosemary, or venison, baharat cream and saltbush).
Turkish wine takes centrestage here, with a selection of bottles Erkoc loves – mostly from the regions of Cappadocia and Denizli. European classics, as well as local and skin-contact drops, are also available on the more than 100-bottle vino list. While in the cocktail department, there might be the Turkish Coffee Martini and the Apple Tea Whisky Sour.
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