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“Birthday Dinner With Wife”
Review of Safran

Safran
Price range: AU$16 - AU$32
Cuisines: Turkish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Description: Turkish Dining in Ettalong Beach. Inspired by tradition, presented with contemporary interpretation. One Hat AGFG 2020.
Reviewed 20 September 2019

Thought we'd try this place based on tripadvisor recommendations for this special occasion and we weren't disappointed. Decided to go with the banquet in order to try a few different dishes. Everything was tasty and servings were pretty right given spread over several course. Service good and staff friendly. Really enjoyed the night.

Date of visit: September 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Steve K
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviews (475)
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93 - 97 of 475 reviews

Reviewed 1 September 2019 via mobile

Great place to eat for a romantic dinner, standout service from waitress and waiters.

Went there on Friday 29 August 2019, very impressed

Date of visit: August 2019
Thank marcaH5436BF
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 27 August 2019

(4.5 stars)
Safran is located within one of the quirkiest shopping, eating and entertainment complexes I’ve ever encountered… well it would have been, if I hadn’t got married in Las Vegas. Galleria Ettalong Beach is like The Strand Arcade on steroids, crossed with all the artifice of The Venetian hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Designed to look like a fake Italian village, it’s a crazy collection of nooks and crannies, stained glass windows and cobblestones, piazzas and Juliet balconies. It houses a motel, some private residences, an artisan market with permanent stalls that open on Saturdays and Sundays, a cinema, cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques and even a Sicilian bakery.

While the complex was first established in 1979, Cinema Paradiso was added in 1999. The six-screen cinema’s name is drawn, rather appropriately, from the academy award-winning 1988 Italian film by the same title. You might remember it for its lush musical score composed by Ennio Morricone. As you stroll the complex’s long marble corridors, with lights that turn on as you move through each area, you might – as I did – ask how and why this complex came to be established in a sleepy Central Coast locale like Ettalong Beach?

Indeed, Safran may have you asking very similar questions. This contemporary Turkish restaurant puts out dishes that could easily stand beside those produced at Efendy, Anason and Stanbuli, which is not to say it’s a direct copy of Sydney’s modern Turkish standouts. Chef Suleyman (Sulo) Kirbancioglu cuts his own path between Turkish dishes and flavours plucked from his childhood in Mengen by the Black Sea, French techniques and premium quality Australian ingredients.

All these elements come together beautifully in Scallops ($18). The delicate bivalves are thinly sliced and lightly smoked in linden tea, made from flowers that grew everywhere in the village where Sulo grew up. They’re topped with a mackerel and tahini mousse that summons both land and sea, then crowned with an eye-catching herb tuile. Micro herbs and thinly sliced radishes complete this dish, which is totally unique in flavour.

Taking in the photos from the chef’s village that line a mantelpiece down one side of the dark toned dining room, we spend some time getting acquainted with our chosen wine. The 2013 Kavaklidere Selection ($68) is a blend of Narince and Emir – two of Turkey’s native white grapes. With lemon and almost salty minerality, it’s a medium weight wine that reminds me of the sea. It’s the perfect foil for Uykuluk ($16) - veal sweetbreads braised with leek in the same Narince white wine then aerated through a syphon and topped with hazelnut crumb and confit garlic croutons. It eats like a Turkish response to foie gras.

The citris and minerality of the wine will also suit the Prawn Kofte ($18) that arrives with tiny clams in a salty lake of leek and fennel broth under a curved green raki rice crisp. The kofte itself has a spongy, almost boudin blanc like texture, before been wrapped in a grape leaf and charred. Scoop up the broth with Ekmek ($6) - house-made warm Turkish bread cubes served with confit garlic butter that’s slightly too raw and intense for me.

As you proceed down the shared meze menu dishes get bigger. The Beef Rib ($36), made using Cape Byron Angus beef, is smoky and tender. The glistening glaze employs mulberries, which cleverly avoid being too sweet. It’s served with a creamy cauliflower puree and a crumble of chestnut, fried shallots, Parmesan and coriander. We team it with Hellim ($16) – one of the few vegetable-based dishes on offer. It’s a simple skewer cooked over charcoal, with haloumi and Baharat-spiced mushrooms that impress with paprika, cumin, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. It’s drizzled with a mustard and saffron beurre blanc that eats well in combination with the mushrooms, golden cheese and scattering of baby spinach leaves.

Friendly and personable floor staff recommend we order two dishes apiece, though I reckon you could slide in a fifth and still leave room for dessert. And you do want to leave room for dessert - the Kunefe ($14) attracts guests all the way from Sydney. It’s easy to see why: the sugar syrup soaked sweet cheese pastry is crunchy and light against a tart berry coulis and silky, rich ice cream. Scoop it up warm and depart Safran with a very big smile thinking about what you’ll try on your next visit.

Date of visit: August 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Jackie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 26 August 2019

What a delight to find a Turkish restaurant on the Coast, especially one with such delicious food. I had heard great reviews of the food, and Saturday's meal lived up to the expectation. The service was good, meals just the right size- 4 of us shared meze plates - hummus, zucchini flowers, kalamar and a beef dish. Plenty of choices!

Date of visit: August 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank LindyAussie_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 17 August 2019

Came here for a birthday dinner as we had been in the past (over a year ago) and it was excellent. This time the food was average a best. Portions are small for what you pay.
We ordered a few dishes and there was nothing that wowed me or made me want to go back-everything was just okay. Service was poor. Didnt have cutelry on the table had to hunt for my own fork as the waitress that said she would bring us one never did. Asked for water 3 times and our waitress never brought it out. Tried to ask one of the other waiters who acknowledged that he would come back he then went into the kitchen and when he came back out pointedly ignored us and went over and started making a table. Not sure how it's still so well rated in ettalong there are a lot of better places near by.

Date of visit: August 2019
2  Thank meechalle
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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