Turkish chef Coskun Uysal will NEVER sell kebabs in his Melbourne restaurant

Why this Turkish chef will NEVER sell kebabs at his Melbourne restaurant – and why he nearly went bankrupt?

  • Coskun Uysal is proud of his Turkish heritage and wanted to share it with Aussies
  • But when he refused to sell kebabs at his Melbourne restaurant, he nearly went bankrupt
  • In the first three years he wanted to quit and close the company
  • His guest appearances on MasterChef in 2018 and 2020 ‘changed his life’


Coskun Uysal, owner of Tulum Restaurant in Balaclava, (pictured) moved from Istanbul to Victoria five years ago

A chef who refused to sell kebabs at his Turkish restaurant in Melbourne is a decision that nearly drove him out of business in the first three years.

Coskun Uysal, owner of Tulum Restaurant in Balaclava, moved to Victoria from Istanbul five years ago and wanted to share how his culture’s cuisine is expanding beyond the popular meat dish.

For the first few years, diners visited the restaurant expecting ‘a large menu of kebabs and dips’ and left unhappy when they realized it was quite the opposite.

But when Mr. Uysal appeared as a guest chef on MasterChef in 2018 and 2020, everything changed.

For the first few years, diners visited the restaurant expecting 'a large menu of kebabs and dips' and left unhappy when they realized it was quite the opposite.  But when Mr Uysal appeared as a guest chef on MasterChef in 2018 and 2020, everything changed

For the first few years, diners visited the restaurant expecting ‘a large menu of kebabs and dips’ and left unhappy when they realized it was quite the opposite. But when Mr Uysal appeared as a guest chef on MasterChef in 2018 and 2020, everything changed

‘As a chef I have always felt that my calling is to show what Turkish food can be, in addition to kebabs and dips. While it was delicious, I went back to traditional recipes like Mom and Grandma used to make and infused them with my own Tulum style,” Mr Uysal said. news.com.au.

He added how MasterChef “changed his life.”

“People started to understand what I’m doing in the restaurant — they know when they come in, it’s about a menu that was born out of my mother’s love of cooking,” he said.

“People started to understand what I’m doing in the restaurant – they know when they come in, it’s about a menu that was born out of my mother’s love of cooking,” Mr Uysal said.

Blending Turkish flair with Melbourne finesse, the menu features a variety of tasty dishes and flavors, including roasted cauliflower and Turkish lamb meatballs.

Today, the restaurant is a popular destination 20 minutes’ drive south of Melbourne CBD and was crowned number one in The Fork’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2021.

Contact Bar & Kitchen in Woolloomooloo, New South Wales was voted second best followed by Vizio Caffe e Cucina, also in Woolloomooloo.

Blending Turkish flair with Melbourne finesse, the menu features a variety of tasty dishes and flavors including roasted cauliflower and Turkish lamb meatballs

Today, the restaurant is a popular destination 20 minutes' drive south of the CBD and was crowned number one in The Fork's Top 100 Restaurants of 2021

Blending Turkish flair with Melbourne finesse, the menu features a variety of tasty dishes and flavors including roasted cauliflower and Turkish lamb meatballs

TheFork’s country manager Gary Burrows said: “We are thrilled to recognize the hard work and resilience of our restaurants and to shine the spotlight on those truly special dining experiences through the Dished Up Top 100.”

He is also delighted to see diners back in restaurants and cafes as lockdowns have been lifted across the country.

Since 2016, Tulum Restaurant has also grown to over 22,500 followers on Instagram.

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