If you’re after some kofte and a sneaky shisha, you’re in exactly the wrong spot. But if you’re open to revising your view of traditional Turkish, Tulum’s got the goods.
At his 36-seat Carlisle Street eatery, chef Coskun Uysal filters dishes learned from his mother through contemporary culinary techniques. He ups the ante on his mum’s homely pre-dinner dish cilbir by using smoked yoghurt, organic eggs, two kinds of brown butter – one crumbly and one flavoured with sumac – and topping it with crisp chicken skin. Uysal’s presentation is typically modern, with dehydrated dusts, petals and restrained emulsions.
The cornerstone of Tulum’s menu, however, is its homemade sauces, smoked yoghurt and cheeses, vinegars, pickles and ferments. He even makes his own tahini: soaked overnight then dried for another day, the sesame seeds are roasted over an open campfire in the backyard and ground, without oil or water, in a stone mill.
The wine list was constructed with the help of Pei Modern maître d’ Ainslie Lubbock, and it travels lightly between Beechworth and Istanbul, stopping off at Alsace and the Dehesa.
The fit-out is similarly understated, with blond tables and handmade light fittings, the only traditional “Turkish” element a strip of turquoise tiles, actually handcrafted in Portugal.
We're giving away the Melbourne food tour of a lifetime, including dinner at Tulum and six more of the city's best restaurants. Enter our Seven Dinners in Seven Nights Competition before September 4.