Grilled Haloumi at the Efendy Restaurant in Halifax
The very pleasant Efendy Restaurant in downtown Halifax serves some exquisite dishes, one of which, being their Grilled Haloumi Cheese Appetizer, is pictured above. Now I love this dish, but the majority of restaurant versions I have had have tended to be quite complex, such as was the case with the Grilled Haloumi at Play, Food & Wine in Ottawa. At Efendy, their preparation and presentation was extremely simple and was, I think, the best I have ever had.
The menu at Efendy consists chiefly of Turkish specialties, but they also serve a variety of dishes from all around the Mediterranean as well. It is a nice, bright, airy sort of place, with good friendly service and excellent food. After my first terrific lunch, it was only a couple of days before I invited a couple of friends to join me there for an evening meal.
The Haloumi dish appeared in the appetizer section of the menu as ‘Hellumi’ and I wondered whether this might be a mainland Turkish spelling of the name for the Cypriot Goat Cheese. However, just before posting this review, I went online to see if Efendy is still operating (they are temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic), and I saw that they have since changed the name to reflect the standard spelling.
Anyway, the presentation of this dish was plain and straightforward, but still very attractive. The generous portion of Cheese was stacked atop a very nice vinaigrette salad of tomato, onion, cucumbers and green pepper. There was also a Tomato based sauce on the side that was very similar to a very smooth Mexican Salsa, except that there no chili heat, and the dominant taste was actually more of Cucumber than Tomato.
As for the Haloumi itself, this was truly well done. The large, flattened pieces of cheese tore like bread and had a ‘squeaky’ mouth-texture that was somewhat like a heavily pressed tofu. The basic taste was of a very fresh salted Mozzarella, and the darkened grill marks gave it an amazing smoky richness. The pieces had clearly been drizzled with Olive Oil before being expertly grilled and, I am not sure, but I think there may have been just a touch of Lemon juice there as well. In any event, the Grilled Haloumi at Efendy was delightful.