Review: Above Par, CBD

Drink, Eat, Restaurants, Sydney / 26 March 2021

Discover Above Par, the CBD eatery serving delicious Turkish eats by day and DJs by night.

During the lockdown, the newly opened Turkish eatery Above Par shifted gears to offer takeaway options and used the time to add new interiors, DJ nights, and a refreshed menu for 2021.

Located in the centre of Sydney CBD amongst popular small bars Baxter Inn, Cantina OK and Barber Shop, Above Par is bringing live music back with DJs spinning the decks every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.

Amongst the CBD bustle, Above Par creates an inviting environment. The entrance is via a leafy garden oasis, where the DJ plays chilled out beats underneath a cherry blossom tree. Diners can choose to eat outside or inside the wine bottle-lined glass walls, in a velvet, pastel pink booth or table near the open plan kitchen, to watch the chefs in action.

Head Chef Enver Katranci has created an authentic Turkish menu made from family recipes and local Australian produce. Katranci trained in Istanbul, before working in Dubai and most recently was the head honcho at Rockpool Dining Group at Sydney’s The Cut Bar & Grill.

With Katranci steering the menu, it’s no wonder the food is the hero of Above Par. The eatery is quickly becoming known for their must order their signature Puffy Bread – a famous Turkish puff bread called ‘Lavas’. Freshly baked, it’s served piping hot and is the perfect accompaniment to Above Par’s delicious dips – hummus, baba ganoush, or atom – a thickened Turkish style yogurt with sundried chilies, sesame, and pine nuts.

But don’t fill up on the delicious bread as Above Par has a lot more to offer. All the dishes are made to share. A wonderful idea as there are so many items on the menu that you’ll want to try. My favourite dish of the evening was the char-grilled calamari with spicy ezme salsa ($25), quickly followed by the roasted cauliflower with raisin puree, almonds, warm hummus, zaatar, and chili oil ($25). And you won’t want to miss the slow-cooked lamb with parsley, ezme, pickled eschallots, feta, and roasted almonds ($38).

Drinks wise, we ordered refreshing Mediterranean margaritas with rosemary-infused tequila, cold-pressed citrus, and olives to kick off the evening.

Co-owner and sommelier Ozgur Sefkatli offers a wine list of over 150 bottles, featuring a unique selection of Turkish and Lebanese wines, along with well-known Australian labels. And I was especially pleased with the impressive by-the-glass list. I opted for the Turkish Kayra ($17 a glass). A bold and dry wine with strong tannins but easy-drinking red wine.

Above Par would be ideal for dining with a large group so you can really experience the menu, although the cosy atmosphere suits intimate dining too.

Above Par is open now at 215 Clarence Street, open Mon & Tues (6:30am – 4pm), Wed & Thur (6:30am – 10pm), Fri (6:30am – late) and Sat (8am – late). Find out more here.