Stuffed Grape Leaves at the Efendy Restaurant in Halifax
I have previously introduced the Efendy Restaurant as being a very pleasant little establishment in downtown Halifax serving Turkish cuisine. They served me the little dish you see above, which was very similar in spirit to an appetizer often served in Greek restaurants known as Dolmas. Since the Grape Leaf wrapper in these delicacies is mostly commonly rice, I often think of them as a sort of Mediterranean sushi. In truth, I can usually take or leave stuffed Grape Leaves, but these ones were very good.
This appetizer consisted of the stuffed Vine Leaves, which were plated on top of the same basic sharp vinaigrette salad of tomato, onion, cucumbers and green pepper that also comes with Efendy’s truly excellent Grilled Haloumi dish. There was also a minted Yoghurt on the side.
The rolls them selves were very nice indeed. The menu described them as being ‘Vine Leaves Stuffed with Rice & Herbs’ and that pretty much sums up what was delivered to me. I am not sure what variety of tice was used. It seemed to be a short grain variety, and was somewhat glutinous, but, whatever the type, it was cooked just right for a cold dish and had no starchy aftertaste.
I am not really sure what the ‘herbs’ might have been. There was clearly Oregano included, but beyond that, I really couldn’t detect anything specific. There was a little salt added, and perhaps a touch of pepper, but, overall, the seasoning was handled very deftly and the result delicate and tasty.
One thing I tend to dislike about stuffed Grape Leaves is that the leaves themselves can be a little fibrous or tough. Unless a roll is small enough to just pop into one’s mouth, it often happens that you can’t bit cleanly through and end up tearing the leaves and making a bit of a mess if not careful. Here, though, the leaves were all very tender and had a nice, slightly sharp flavor.
I like the salad that came with the dish. The tanginess of the vinaigrette version went very nicely with the rice stuffing and actually worked better then the Yoghurt dressing on the side, in my opinion. In truth, I am not a huge fan of Yoghurt at the best of times, but this variety was very sharply acidic and, to my mind, was a bit of an overkill as an accompaniment. Still, many people will not have the same opinion as me on that issue and, overall, this appetizer was a winner.