I’ve been meaning to visit Kyneton for years. Literally years. I have a friend at work who lives in Kyneton, and I have worked with her for 7+ years. And that’s how long I’ve been meaning to visit for!
Recently I was talking to her about Kyneton, and decided – you know what? Seven years is long enough. I’m going for a visit! So last weekend I rounded up Alastair, Bro, Maz and Daz, and we drove up to have lunch at Mr Carsisi.
Mr Carsisi is named after Istanbul’s Misir Carsisi spice bazaar, and serves modern Turkish food. It’s located on Piper Street, in what looks like a tin shed, but apparently it was a former ice works (I don’t actually know what ice works are – but that is what google tells me).
After we ordered, we were brought out some lovely bread, along with a grassy, fruity olive oil for dipping.
We decided to order a few mezze to share before the mains. The first to come out was golden spiced calamari ($9.50). This was an example of calamari done really well – lightly battered with a crisp coating and tender. We should’ve ordered a couple of these!
Next we had grilled merguez sausages with lemon ($9.00). Chubby sausages of spiced meat, they were fatty with a hint of cinnamon. They were really enjoyable, particularly with a squeeze of lemon, which helped to lift the flavour and cut through some of the fattiness.
And our last mezze was the organic pearl barley tabouleh with Milawa chicken, saffron almond tarator and pomegranate molasses ($9.50). I thought this tasted just like chicken salad that you get in sandwiches, while others thought it tasted like Big Mac sauce (but in a good way!). Either way, we all really liked it and I particularly liked the nutty, tangy grains in the tabouleh.
For mains, Alastair and Daz both had the grilled aged scotch fillet, with fried saffron potatoes, green beans, pastirma and muhummara ($33.50). You can *just* see the pastirma – air dried beef – peeking out on the beans, while the muhummara is the red spicy roast pepper sauce behind the potatoes. Speaking of the potatoes, they looked like they should be crispy, but sadly they weren’t! They tasted good, but I think they would’ve been better crispy – like chips! Can’t go wrong with chips
Alastair requested his steak medium rare, but because it was an uneven thickness, one side was closer to medium, the middle was perfect, and then the other side was totally and completely blue. I wonder if there is a way to cook steak more consistently when it’s unevenly thick (excepting sous vide). Despite the uneven cooking, the steak had great flavour, and the muhummara was particularly nice.
Bro and I had the lamb, which had a slow roasted lamb shoulder, Persian red lentils, grilled lamb cutlets, and pomegranate and walnut sauce ($33). At the front were two beautifully done lamb cutlets – cooked to medium, and very tender and juicy.
Here’s a closer look at the lamb shoulder. It’s covered in walnut sauce that looks a bit unappetising but fortunately tasted good. The lamb shoulder was a bit strange – a part of it was REALLY dry – almost meat jerky kind of dry – in fact you can almost see it in the photo. The black part of the lamb shoulder was the really dry bit. I don’t know if it was deliberately roasted that way – Bro’s lamb was the same – but the non meat jerky part was definitely much nicer, particularly with the sweet/sour burst of the scattered pomegranate seeds.
Mazza was special and ordered something no one else wanted. She had the chicken – roasted Milawa free-range chicken breast, chicken, labneh and coriander borek, herb and almond salad and barberry and lime butter ($34)
Moving on to dessert – we had two dessert tasting plates to share ($28 each). On the plate was a selection of several items. There were several lokma (sweet fried dough) with spiced chocolate to dip into. These were fab, so crisp and light.
The white stuff in the glass in the middle was salep – a wild orchid and orange blossom custard. Unfortunately this tasted exactly like hand lotion: very, very perfumed hand lotion, and after trying it, we all left it alone.
My favourite of all the desserts was this semolina and cinnamon halva topped with pistachio fairy floss. Partly due to the Persian fairy floss – how can anyone resist fairy floss? But mostly I really enjoyed the halva, which for some reason reminded me a bit of Asian desserts. Perhaps it was the texture? The flavour? I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Here we have talumba, which are similar to lokma, except these had been drenched in a sweet syrup. And if that wasn’t enough sweetness, in the little pot underneath was melted turkish delight (!!).
Probably the prettiest dessert on the plate, this was Turkish delight semifreddo sandwiched in between something… possibly nuts and filo?
Holy crap, there was a lot of sugar. Finally, we had pistachio baklava and pistachio halva ice cream.
Oh wait – not done with the sugar yet – I had a strong and sweet Turkish coffee to finish.
I liked Mr Carsisi – though I think if we’d only had mezze and dessert, I would have liked it more. I didn’t think the mains were as good as the mezze we shared at the start. As for service, it seemed okay at the beginning, but then gradually sloooooowed, and it took ages before we were able to wave someone down to order dessert, and then later to get the bill. Oh well, at least we were happy to have a leisurely lunch!
Afterwards we had a wander down the street, checking out the numerous vintage shops, before heading back to Melbourne. There seemed to be A LOT of shops on Piper Street selling old stuff!
I can’t believe it took me so long to visit Kyneton – it definitely won’t be 7 years before I visit again as I’m keen to try out a couple of the other restaurants in town.
PS: My colleague owns a second hand book and record shop in Kyneton called Long Story Short. It’s really sweet, and isn’t the name fantastic? Check it out if you’re ever in town!
For more opinions on Mr Carsisi, check out these blogs:
[googleMap name=”Mr Carsisi” width=”600″ height=”300″ directions_to=”false”]37 Piper St Kyneton 3444 VIC Australia[/googleMap]
37 Piper St
Kyneton 3444 VIC
Phone: 5422 3769