MELBOURNE | Halikarnas is a small restaurant in Brunswick East, offering a diverse selection of traditional Turkish food. Owner and executive chef Ali Atay, who hails from Sivas, in central Turkey has created a space that’s got a real welcoming, local’s feel. His menu is inspired by family meals back home, and features popular Turkish dishes, and lesser known options.
A nautical theme references the strong Mediterranean influences of the food. Blues and whites, with assorted trinkets referencing Turkey, the Mediterranean, and the sea. Flowing from the family meal inspiration, the menu features a mixture of meze, large plates, and platters. Generous servings that are designed to share.
Simplicity and freshness are hallmarks of the food at Halikarnas. Top quality, market fresh, local produce, complimented by Turkish imported ingredients when a suitable local equivalent isn’t available.
A great option is the mixed grill, which you can scale up depending on how many people are in your group. It gets you a selection of tender charcoal grilled lamb cutlets, lamb ribs, chicken skewers, lamb skewers, kofte, and grilled veggies. It’s served with salad, bulgur & very thin, soft flatbread.
Also go for a selection of dips and other meze, which are all served with a thicker, airy Turkish bread. Cacik, made with fresh strained yoghurt and cucumber, seasoned with garlic & dried mint, is a must. Also try the addictive carrot dip. It’s a blend of strained yoghurt, carrot, garlic, and olive oil.
Other meze include things like lahana sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls with rice and herbs), sigara boregi (pastry filled with feta cheese), and manti (dumplings filled with spiced lamb, infused in garlic yoghurt, topped with paprika sauce).
For larger dishes, beyond the grilled meats, there’s things like karniyarik (eggplants stuffed with beef, tomatoes and aromatic Turkish spices), karides tava (prawns cooked with garlic, peppers and tomatoes), and beyti (charcoal grilled lamb mince on a skewer wrapped in lavash, topped with yoghurt and bulgur with salad tomato sauce).
For dessert, there’s the classics – baklava and kunefe, plus a few other rotating choices. To drink, it’s soft drinks and Turkish drinks, Turkish tea and coffee, and a small selection of wine, beer, and raki.
Dietary requirements are well catered for, with a decent selection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available.
2/71 Lygon Street
Telephone: 0422 243 376
Sun, Tue – Thu: 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 5:30pm to 11:30pm