It’s the low-lit luxury of the dining room that strikes you first at chef, author and restaurateur Somer Sivrioğlu’s new CBD restaurant Maydanoz. But it’s the delicately balanced, plant-forward menu that’s likely to draw in diners. The new 100-seat restaurant is the first plant-predominant venue from Sivrioğlu’s Origins Dining Group – which is behind Balmain staple Efendy (which is in the process of relocating) and Barangaroo’s Anason, which are both known for their seafood- and meat-heavy menus.
An ode to the fresh, plant-based dishes that define the cuisine of the Aegean coastline, Maydanoz (Turkish for “parsley”) offers a creative dining experience where meat plays second fiddle to vegetables. Flatbread is charred in Pepe Saya butter, seasonal vegetables are jewelled with pomegranate, and the house-made labneh is mixed through chewy barley and topped with olive oil-infused zucchini.
The chef’s favourite dishes are the vegan coconut-yoghurt dip, and the fava bean puree that comes topped with stalks of charred caulilini (baby cauliflower). “This is my mother’s recipe, and one of the first recipes I learnt to cook,” Sivrioğlu tells Broadsheet.
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One of the few meat dishes is sheep’s head soup: a dish typically served to the bride and groom at Turkish weddings, which arrives at your table in an ornate copper pot.
“Turkish weddings are huge, and sheep soup is made to feed everyone, but the bride and groom get the soup made from the head because … it’s their day,” Sivrioğlu – who is also a judge on Turkey’s Masterchef – explains.
The meze-style menu – a collaboration between Sivrioğlu and group executive chef Arman Uz – is loaded with shareable dishes, including salty haloumi skewers complemented by a light cos lettuce salad, and a selection of house-made dips. The dessert menu – traditionally seen as the magnum opus for chefs in the Ottoman Empire – is similarly shareable, with rich knafeh perfectly balanced by a subtly sweet yoghurt keskul (creamy almond pudding) that arrives topped with rhubarb, plums and toasted almonds.
The wine list includes European and Australian options alongside a selection of new and old-style Turkish wines, including a smoky kalecik karasi and a gently spicy syrah imported from the provincial town of Güney. The cocktail list also nods to Turkey with twists on the classics: the spiced Negroni is made with a seven-spice-infused gin and served with candied orange and star anise, and the signature cocktail, the Zumrut, is a gin-based concoction that brings together apple, lime, rum and parsley – a zesty homage to the herb that gave Maydanoz its name.
Designed by Guru Projects (Carbon, Santa Catarina and Ezra), the interiors are also influenced by the Aegean coast, with the deep greens and blues of the coastline incorporated into velvet banquettes. Marble countertops are traced with gold accents, the stone-grey walls are lined with carefully placed rows of Turkish copper pots, and a vast wine library occupies one wall towards the back of the space. The front side of the restaurant opens up to a candlelit outdoor seating area, and the chef’s table offers a more communal dining experience – it’ll begin hosting events and collaborations in the coming months.