Ali Atay has donned a few different hats. Since immigrating to Australia from Turkey in 1997, he has run a cleaning company, a fresh juice and gelato store, a cafe, and a food truck. Today, he co-owns and runs Yakamoz – a Mediterranean restaurant – with his son Ogulcan Atay (who goes by OJ). At Yakamoz, traditional Mediterranean dishes are served up with a playful contemporary spin.
Diners could easily make a meal out of the meze selection, which might include pan-fried kefalotyri cheese (often erroneously called “saganaki” in Australia), hummus topped with pastirma (cured beef), crisp manti (handmade Turkish dumplings with a twist) and the zucchini fritters with sundried tomato puree.
A seat at the bar provides a front-row view of the woodfired oven. Most commonly coming out of the oven is pide (a Turkish flatbread) served with toppings like minced beef, spinach and herbs, and pastirma and egg. Spiced lamb cutlets, Moroccan chicken and sweet rice pudding are also finished off in the woodfired oven. As might be the candied pumpkin with tahini, a dessert popular in Turkey.
The share-friendly, Mediterranean menu isn’t tied to tradition and uses Turkish food as a jumping off point, bringing in inspiration from cuisines across Greece, North Africa, Morocco and Spain.
The drinks menu places just as much emphasis on the Mediterranean. There’s ayran, a popular Turkish yoghurt drink; Turkish soft drinks by Uludag Gazoz; Turkish coffee; and a fermented turnip drink called salgam.
A delivery-only kebab store, Kebap Ali, also operates out the back of the restaurant and serves kebabs, halal snack packs, pide and potato cakes.
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