BAKLAVA – claimed by many ethnic groups as their own although evidence suggests it has a central Asian Turkic origin – is a beloved dessert with people across the globe.
Chef David Brown of Subiaco’s Purl Bar & Restaurant (Murray Kimber’s latest venture), says the rich layered pastry is his favourite dish to eat and create.
“Ish (Ismail Touson) from the now-closed Eminem restaurant, where I used to work, taught me how to make it,” he said.
“It only takes about five minutes to prepare and I love its simplicity and taste.
“One day I’d like to open a little shop and just make baklava.”
Brown, also formerly of now-defunct Shenton Park gem Star Anise, has carried on his love of Turkish cuisine, cooking mostly Middle Eastern tapas-styled fare at Purl (formerly Little Chutneys), named after a 19th-century beverage commonly sold on the streets of London.
“We have some produce here that few people know about, including an air-dried beef that takes about two weeks to make,” he said.
“Another unusual favourite ingredient on my list is pennyroyal weed – little tear-drop shaped leaves that grow between pavements. My girlfriend’s parents have a garden with plenty of it.
“A very bitter, thick and robust leaf, it goes beautifully with pickled octopus.
“My most used spice is sumac, popular in Middle Eastern cooking, and I have a fish dish on the Purl menu featuring it with lemon. I like its red colour and the lemony flavour; it goes very well with many ingredients.”
A career in food was on the cards from an early age for the hard-working 25-year-old.
“My mum and dad never cooked for the family so I took care of it,” Brown said. “The first thing I remember making for them was a lasagne when I was nine – it was very runny.”