The Cellar at Sofra: Underground Turkish Delights

by Cindy

Turkish cuisine might not be on the top of your list when it comes to deciding where to eat on a night out. It definitely wasn’t on mine but a dinner at The Cellar at Sofra last week quickly changed that. A hidden gem, the three month old extension of Sofra in downtown’s core is serving up authentic and traditional mezze (or meze), similar to the Spanish concept of tapas. As a big fan of tasting plates and small bites, this was right up my alley and thanks to my friend Lesley’s suggestion, a group of us made a visit.

The Cellar at Sofra

Sofra

Sofra isn’t new to Edmonton but their separate mezze menu and extensive selection of wines for their underground space is. Two distinct seating areas define The Cellar: tables amongst dimly lit mosaic lamps, creating an intimate and romantic dining experience; and the open, brightly lit area featuring none other than a set of ‘sofra’, low tables or trays for dining seated on the floor, with colourful seating cushions. Can you guess where we sat?

The Cellar at Sofra: Coated Peanuts

Coated Peanuts

Crunchy coated peanuts started off the evening, an addictive snack that left all of us mindlessly snacking.

The Cellar at Sofra: Meze Tabagi

Meze Tabagi

The Meze Tabagi: an assorted meze platter with yaprak karma, stuffed Turkish apricots, fried helm cheese, grilled black tiger prawns, and Bosnian sausage. The stuffed Turkish apricots were a favourite and I loved the smokiness of the prawns. An ideal plate for 2 – 4 diners, our group of 8 were left wanting more bites!

The Cellar at Sofra: Lahmacun

Lahmacun

Lesley was our expert and guide for the night on Turkish cuisine seeing that she’s been to Istanbul. We were able to order Lahmacun, a dish that wasn’t on The Cellar at Sofra’s menu but was available upstairs in the regular dining room. Chef and owner Yuksel Gultekin and the kitchen were so accommodating and made the dish for us. Absolutely loved the in-house flatbread and the spiced ground meat was delicious!
The Cellar at Sofra: Incik Kuzu

Incik Kuzu

The Incik Kuzu, a lamb loin served on a bed of sautéed vegetables, in-house tomato basil sauce was cooked medium rare as per requested, and was very nicely done. I was expecting the spices to pack a punch, like a Moroccan lamb roast, and stronger notes of cumin but the dish didn’t deliver that. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to (I’m new to Turkish cuisine!) but we cleaned it up nevertheless.

The Cellar at Sofra: Parmak Kofte

Parmak Kofte

My absolute favourite main dish of the night was the grilled beef meatballs served on a dollop of yogurt and topped with sautéed tomatoes, the Parmak Kofte. There’s something about meatballs that’s universal throughout all cuisines, a comforting dish and one that can please any palate. An absolute must order, the kofte were moist and flavourful! Mmm, I want more.

Dinner at The Cellar at Sofra, Fume Ordek Beyti

Dinner at The Cellar at Sofra, Fume Ordek Beyti

The Fume Ordek Beyti, a smoked duck breast, was cleverly plated to make a none other than, a flying bird. Paired with fresh herbs and rolled in phyllo pastry, the packages were lightly toasted in the pan and brushed with a cayenne butter mixture and cut into pieces to share. The phyllo pastry consistency was a little different from your typical phyllo dough and the bite really brought out textures that reminded me of green onion cakes, not a bad thing.

The Cellar at Sofra: Tranca Pastirimi

Tranca Pastirimi

My least favourite dish was the halibut, wrapped in beef pastrami and baked with an accompanying tomato, pepper, and mushroom sauce. The Tranca Pastirimi fell flat for me compared to all the other dishes although I appreciated that there was a seafood option in the menu.

The Cellar at Sofra: Baklava

Baklava

The Cellar at Sofra: Parfait

Parfait

Desserts rounded out our meal, the baklava, a sweet layered pastry filled with walnuts, pistachios, and honey, were a hit for all and perfect for a sweet tooth. I absolutely loved my parfait of vanilla ice cream and caramelized figs, I could have eaten that all night!

The Cellar at Sofra: Thanks

Thanks

Overall, I’m so happy to have found another small plate dining option in the downtown core! Even better, on Tuesdays any bottle of wine under $60 is half off, making that night’s meal even more delightful. Good company, good food, and wine. I don’t think I can ask for more. The Cellar at Sofra’s strong points are I think what Turkish food would be known for, like the grilled meats, kofte, and pitas. I’m excited to come back to try the Kabak Dolma, zucchini halves filled with your choice of toppings and the Helim Peynir, thinly sliced grilled eggplant wrapped around some of that beautiful helm cheese.

The Cellar at Sofra:

Turkish Mosaic Lamps

Not only do I have to make another trip to The Cellar but the upstairs has a completely different menu and more catered to individual plates. So excited to have tried Sofra! Service was amazing and accommodating to all our needs. Absolutely loved the experience and can’t wait to return.

The Cellar at Sofra

The Cellar at Sofra

 

The Cellar at Sofra
10345 106 Street
(780) 423-3044
5P-10:30P, Tues-Sun

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1 comment

Only Here for the Food » Blog Archive » Food Notes for June 8, 2015 June 8, 2015 - 11:22 PM

[…] Cindy shared her experience sampling the menu at Sofra’s underground Cellar (10345 106 Street). […]

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