The Turkish word Lezzet translates to ‘flavour’, something the dishes at this restaurant have in spades. Take your taste buds on a magic carpet ride to the exotic markets of Ankara in Turkey, experiencing a cuisine that artfully combines modern Australian with traditional Turkish cuisine.
Head Chef and Owner, Kemal Barut, began working as a busboy in the original Lezzet restaurant, then a small, one-room shop front. Five years down the track, Kemal bought the business and made it his own, drawing inspiration from annual visits home to his family back in Turkey.
He may be an Aussie boy at heart, but Kemal incorporates the exotic colours and flavours of Turkey into the venue and in his menus. You can relax in moody dining rooms with earthy brick walls, splashes of red hues, comfy banquettes and rustic blackboards embellished with traditional fezes. Or settle into the outdoor dining space that opens onto the Brighton Road promenade – the perfect spot for dinner and drinks after a warm day at Elwood beach. If it’s a quiet drink you’re after, head to the intimate bar complete with cocktails, so you can kick your feet up and start your weekend off the right way.
When it comes to food, Kemal combines the freshest Victorian produce with Turkish products to inject more than a mouthful of flavour into each dish. If you’re up bright and early for breakfast, try the gozleme – crispy stretched pastry filled with spinach and cheese, or Kem’s ‘No Egg’ Breakfast with grilled sucuk sausages, roasted tomato, baby spinach and feta cheese.
In true Turkish spirit, start off lunch or dinner with some entrees to share, such as the sticky lamb ribs or the golden-fried halloumi chips. It can be hard to go past Turkish pizza with so many tempting combinations on offer, such as the Vegetable Deluxe – mushrooms, salca, mozzarella, tomato, zucchini, red capsicum and onion, or the Meat Lovers – kofte, chicken, salca, pastirma, sucuk, caramelised onion and yoghurt.
Order the Anatolian Lamb, which is slow cooked for 18 hours and served with a fig and date jus and pearl cous cous. Or try the grilled meat platter with various cuts of lamb, sucuk sausage and chicken from the grill served with pilaf rice. And every good meat dish needs a side, so order the Elwood Salad with beetroot discs, barley, candied walnut, pomegranate, parsley and goat’s cheese. If you need something to mop all those delicious meat juices, Lezzet’s freshly baked wood-fired breads are the perfect vessel, such as the Turkish olive bread or the warm garlic bread.
It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, so grab that cocktail list and pick your favourite concoction. It travels the globe, with the Morocco cocktail with sumak, lemon and Cointreau or the Israel with pomegranate, apricot, vodka and strawberry amongst the frontrunners. Lezzet really is the new millennium’s version of Turkey.