Above Par is a modern Middle Eastern Restaurant in the heart of the city. It is a boutique space offering a cosy chic indoor dining experience, as well as an alfreso dining space.
Located in the CBD, Above Par is only a short walk from the QVB. Make your way up the stairs and take in the airy glass walled space, showcasing their huge wine selection. If you’d like to sit alfresco, there’s tables outside with some great lighting on the cherry blossom trees, complemented by a DJ’s spinning lounge tracks (which is on from 6 pm every Thursday Friday and Saturday evenings). ￼￼
Inside, the restaurant has dark interiors, mood lighting and candle lit tables. As you walk in, the exotic aromas grab your attention. The crowd is vibrant, with a number of groups enjoying a shared meal and a couple of drinks in the intimate setting.
A good way to kick things off is with a drink, and the venue were great in catering to a pregnant diner as they have a range of mocktails to choose from, still providing the feel of having a cocktail with other diners. The Virgin Mojito was particularly good. For the heavier stuff, from the cocktail list, the Sultan’s old fashioned, made with a spiced boubon, aphrodisiac, bitters and garnished with an orange peel and a smouldering cinnamon stick, arriving at the table with smoke from the cinnamon, really awakens the senses.
Their drinks list is extensive, with over 150 wines and other beverages from regions of the world you are unlikely to have sampled, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and more, ideal if you are feeling adventurous. There are also plenty of beverages from regions you will be familiar with Australia, France, Italy, Austria and Portugal to name a few. The wine is showcased well, lined up around the venue’s walls.
As you peruse the menu, also take note of the stunning tableware, which is in cohesion with the dining space, with charcoal grey napkins and array of diffent ceramic plates and bowls to pique your interest, whilst contributing to the presentation of each menu item.
For the food, the Middle Eastern food; specifically Turkish, it is recommended as mezze-style, with sharing dishes to be key. We recommended going in a group so you can sample plenty together, because it is all sophisticated in taste and presentation.
Be sure to begin with the “puffy bread”, served warm, and perfect to have with one or more of their delicious dips – hummus, baba ganoush, or atom – a popular thickened Turkish style yogurt with sundried chilies, sesame, and pine nuts.
Then, take your fancy of the entrees. We order the stunning grilled calamari, perfectly cooked with a chilli tomato ezme salsa. Probably our favourite dish, healthy, intricate and refreshing.
We followed this with the incredible roasted cauliflower, nice and soft with an outer char, served with raisin puree, almonds, warm hummus, zaatar, and chili oil. Everything about this was banging with flavour and textures. It’s also a gluten free and vegan option.￼
As there were two of us in the dining party, we ordered one main and a salad between us. The Chicken shish skewers (2) were served with bulghur pilaf, sumac onion parsley salad, toum and pita was amazing. Combined with a beetroot salad a feast for the senses.
Everything was delicious, perfectly cooked and well presented. Honestly we’d happily order anything on that menu. To give you a heads up of their other choices, there’s flamed kofte, slow-cooked lamb with parsley, triple cheese Shakshuka, kibbeh, manti (Turkish beef ravioli) and lahmacun (Turkish pizza) to name a few.
Unfortunately we were simply too full to get dessert, but it does give us further impetus to return! We’d opt for the home made walnut baklava served with clotted cream and a Turkish coffee and rose tea.
Owners Efe Topuzlu and Ozgur Sefkatli have created an A class restaurant and full credit to them, the chefs and staff for a great experience all round.
215 Clarence St
Sydney NSW 2000
Mon-Thu: 11:30 am – 10pm
Fri: 11:30 am – late
Sat: 5:30 pm – late
Sun and Public Holidays: closed