Sofra, one of Toowoomba’s most celebrated restaurants never fails to impress and a recent trip left us yearning to go back and try the dishes we missed out on.

Our visit was a lunch date with friends and as we were seated the plates going out loaded with tantalising grills and spiced hot pots had us salivating right from the start. Our hosts Shadnam and Yeliz were fabulous, both eager to tell us about the history of the restaurant, they made a point of asking if we had any allergies or food intolerances before offering up their favourite suggestions from the menu.

We started with the popular Sofra Mezza Platter ($45 for 2) a true feast to behold with so many tempting morsels it was hard to know where to begin. From chargrilled haloumi, olives and mixed vegetable pickles to creamy fetta and crispy little ground beef and onion pastries (çig börek). We were intrigued by the flavour combinations and heartily tucked in to spicy zucchini croquets (muçver), melt in your mouth dolma (zucchini stuffed w lamb mince, rice & herbs), sebze kizartma (eggplant w potato in tomato & herb concasse) sesame coated falafel, crunchy cheese and parsley filo rolls (called peynirli sigara böregi, these things are amazing) and more. This platter is served with lightly toasted Turkish bread & yoghurt dipping sauces…seriously mouth-watering.

We decided to try one of the Turkish wines on offer with our starters and we were not disappointed. Ancyra is a Pinot Grigio style, light & subtle, the perfect accompaniment to our starter.

Next the main course and again we decided to share. Pirzola $32 (baby lamb cutlets marinated with herbs and gently cooked over the char-grill), a Gypsy Salad $26, one of my guests favourites. This was a combination of fresh salad vegetables, spiced grilled chicken and haloumi with a piquant pomegranate dressing. We also tucked in to a Karides Guvec $27 a deliciously creamy casserole of prawns and mixed vegetables topped with cheese and oven baked in a traditional clay pot, this was served with warm Turkish pilav. Ahhh so good!

Dessert was not on our mind as you could imagine but we were tempted by PASHAS DESSERT PLATTER ($26 for 2) a mixture of authentic Turkish sweet treats that included lokum (rose flavoured Turkish delight) baklava, tulumba (fried crunchy dumplings w rose water syrup, served w double cream), pismaniye (Turkish fairy floss), kazandabi (velvety sweet vanilla custard) served with a sprinkling of pistachio and cinnamon. I really loved this. Turkish desserts are so far removed from traditional western offerings and the dishes were perfectly balanced, surprisingly light, and delicious.

I got the chance to pop into the kitchen for a quick chat to the chef’s before leaving and their pride in their craft radiated strongly as they showed me some of the techniques they use to create Sofra’s extraordinary authentic Turkish menu. Impressive!

Sofra remains an iconic foodie destination on the Toowoomba restaurant scene and rightly so. The perfect spot for a long lazy lunch as they don’t close between lunch and dinner service. This means you get to take your time, savour the menu and really soak up the experience. For us 5 BIG stars, superb on every level.

Find them in Margaret St in the Toowoomba CBD. We can’t wait to go back!