New Levantine diner Above Par was one of the unlucky few venues scheduled to launch right as lockdown restrictions were enforced back in March.
“We opened on the day the restrictions came in,” Ozgur Sefkatli told Broadsheet back in April. Despite the terrible timing, he and co-owner Eddie Topuzlu decided to forge ahead, keeping their new venue open for takeaway.
“We thought we still wanted to go ahead with the opening; we couldn’t just not open, because we invested everything. The venue was set, everything was purchased, and we had organised ourselves, so we thought we’d give it a go.”
Now, the sleek all-day bistro is running as it was originally intended – as a 60-seat (once restrictions lift) diner that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although they met in Sydney, Sefkatli and Topuzlu were both born in Turkey. The pair spent their early twenties living in Istanbul, and their venue is inspired by the late-night feasts they’d enjoy after clubbing in Taksim Square. On Friday and Saturday nights the city eatery will be open late so people leaving nearby bars such as the Baxter Inn and Cantina OK can get a meal before rolling home.
The stylish restaurant recently brought in a new chef, Turkish-born Enver Katranci, whose last role was heading up the kitchen at Rockpool Dining Group’s Cut Bar & Grill. Katranci is pushing out a menu of Middle Eastern classics that make the most of Aussie produce. New dishes include calamari with baba ganoush, vegan lentil patties with bulgur, and Dutch cream potato cubes with sumac onion and grilled Aleppo pepper.
On the breakfast menu are home-style Turkish dishes, such as a triple-cheese shakshuka and menemen (scrambled eggs with tomato and green peppers). The all-day menu starts at midday, with an assortment of traditional Levantine and Turkish dishes ideal for anything from a mid-workday lunch to a dinner with mates. Expect share plates of ali nazik kebab (sautéed beef with eggplant purée); lamb kofte; manti (Turkish beef dumplings with yoghurt sauce); and gozleme.
“We wanted to create something reminiscent of home and give Sydneysiders the same experience we had growing up, where sharing a meal with friends and family is such an important part of everyday life,” says Topuzlu.
215 Clarence Street, Sydney
(02) 8592 4200
Mon & Tues 7am–4pm
Wed & Thu 8am–10pm