In Australia, when you think Turkish food, you’ll probably conjure images of late-night kebabs stuffed to the brim and moreish cheese and spinach-filled gözleme or pide. While these dishes have their place in Turkish cuisine – although in more traditional forms – there is so much more to the region’s culinary offering. This is what restaurateur and GQ’s Chef of the Year award-winner Somer Sivrioglu is proving with his Sydney restaurant Anason. And one of the first steps in changing perceptions around the cuisine is to call it Anatolian, not just Turkish.
Most of the western part of modern-day Turkey makes up the historic region of Anatolia. The multitude of cultures that have formed Anatolia’s enormous history have all had their mark on the dishes of today. Anason is a celebration of all these different cultures, with a menu inspired by flavours and dishes from all over the expansive region.
Istanbul-born Somer spent the early years of his career working in his mother’s restaurants in Bodrum and the Turkish capital. He moved to Australia in 1995, working in a number of high-profile restaurant management roles before opening his very own restaurant in 2007: Efendy in Sydney’s Balmain. Barangaroo’s Anason followed in 2016. Somer’s vision for his newest venture was for it to be a relaxed, meze bar-style restaurant; reminiscent of the meyhane along the Bosphorus.
Anason’s striking blue facade is hard to miss when walking along the promenade at Barangaroo. The man behind some of Sydney’s most iconic restaurant designs, George Livissianis, was also responsible for this one. The restaurant’s interior is eye-catching – especially the enviable wine collection behind the bar – but it’s not where you’ll be steered to upon arrival. Seating is all outside, which makes for a more casual and laid-back atmosphere.
The menu at Anason is extensive and everything is shareable. Seafood is king here, with mouthwatering dishes like cured salmon with fennel and pickled chillies (Pastirma) designed to whet your appetite before digging into the exquisite sardine sandwich (Balik Ekmek) or divine octopus with broad bean fava and sumac pickled onion (Ahtapot).
If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other delectable options. For something out of left-field, go for the camel sausage sucuk or the beef tongue and pickled carrots dish. Vegetarian options, though limited, are also flavoursome and varied.
Desserts at Anason live up to the high standards set by the savoury dishes. The rose-flavoured Turkish Mess – Somer’s playful take on an Eton Mess – is a dream if you have a sweet tooth, and the classic Baklava is rich and warming.
Somer Sivrioglu’s Anason delivers a taste of Anatolia in Sydney. A far cry from street-corner kebabs, this restaurant offers authentic flavours and dishes from this culturally-rich and diverse part of the world.
5/23 Barangaroo Avenue
Barangaroo NSW 2000