Tulum's version of Turkish delight – featuring dehydrated chocolate mousse, rose-flavoured milk pudding and rose syrup.
Tulum's version of Turkish delight – featuring dehydrated chocolate mousse, rose-flavoured milk pudding and rose syrup. Photo: Supplied

Roslyn Grundy

What happens when you combine a Turkish chef with Australian ingredients? Stay tuned for Tulum, the contemporary Turkish restaurant taking shape in Balaclava.

Love may have brought Istanbul-born Coskun Uysal to Melbourne but the food culture helps keep him here. "Customers are very open-minded and well-educated about food, wine and coffee."

Uysal, who spent time at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen and the River Cafe in London, believes we're ready to learn there's more to Turkish cuisine than kebabs and dips.

At Tulum, which is named after his favourite Turkish cheese, he'll update classic Ottoman and family recipes – his riff on the famous eggplant dish imam bayildi ("the priest fainted") uses kangaroo rather than beef, and Turkish delight is reinterpreted with dehydrated chocolate mousse, rose-scented milk pudding and rose syrup.

Fellow countryman Murat Ovaz​, recently at Colin Fassnidge's​ Four in Hand in Sydney, will join him in the kitchen when the 34-seat restaurant opens at 217 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, in early April.