In the window of an otherwise nondescript shopfront in Smith Street, Fitzroy, an inner-city suburb northeast of Melbourne's CBD, women prepare dough for traditional Turkish gozleme.
Clouds of flour cover their hands and dust their aprons. They work confidently and determinedly, shaping pastry into squares, as they trade jokes and advice in Turkish.
Pronounced 'gerz-leh-meh', this beloved Turkish pastry draws locals and far-flung foodies alike.
Manager Tim Sonsa is proud that his gozleme eatery Sonsa Market has established a role in the community. It provides a broad range of vegan, vegetarian, Turkish and Middle-Eastern speciality food as well as a deli, butcher, juice bar, and falafel and gozleme bar.
He even employed an abla ("older sister"), Cemile Delibas from Malatya, Turkey, to make authentic gozleme.
Meanwhile, Tim's wife Aygul Sonsa, born in Turkey's Edirne near the border of Bulgaria and Greece, serves fresh hummus dotted with chickpeas and drizzled with olive oil.
Aygul recalls, "My mum used to make gozleme, so I've eaten it ever since we were really little. My mum tried to teach me when I was 14 or 15 but I feel like, even now, I’m only at the beginning of my learning."
For the uninitiated, Aygul explains, "Gozleme is a handmade pastry. It's left open wide to add fillings of your choice. Typically, lamb, cheese, eggplant and spinach are common flavourings. The pastry is folded into squares then grilled before being served hot."
Aygul admits she has never tired of it. "Working at Sonsa, I eat gozleme at least three times a week. It's so popular here. The most popular filling is spinach and cheese."
There's also vegan gozleme, filled with capsicum, mushroom, greens, mint, dill, spring onions, to accommodate Fitzroy locals who largely represent Melbourne's plant-based community.
"There's no egg, no dairy. Gozleme is largely flour and water with a pinch of salt beyond the flavourings," says Aygul.
My mum tried to teach me when I was 14 or 15 but I feel like, even now, I'm only at the beginning of my learning.
Tim, who was born in Australia after his parents emigrated from Turkey to Australia in 1976, says the cuisine of their homeland is diverse.
"The thing about food in Turkey is that every area has a different style. Where I was from, there's more rice and meats but no kebabs. In the eastern part of Turkey is the real homeland of Turkish food as it's known internationally.
"Gozleme, like baklava, is the source of a lot of speculation around its origin. Kurdistan, Central Asia, Persia… a lot of these places bake similar foods to gozleme but as far as I'm concerned, the way it's done in Turkey is the best."
"When [people] look into the window here and see the abla making gozleme, they want to know what's happening here," explains Sonsa.
"It's not just the Turkish community who are interested in shopping and eating here.
"We try to cater to everyone."
This filled Turkish pastry has become a staple at markets across Sydney and Australia. Made with soft dough rolled out until thin, it is then filled with any number of things, including the ever-popular spinach and feta. Here, we’ve used lamb, silverbeet and feta for a spin on the classic.
Everywhere I went, Turkey was full of surprises and I had no doubt I’d find a few more Fethiya. Sure the place was heaving with English tourists, but I also found heaps of game, wild mushrooms and other fresh produce. It reminded me a lot more of Europe than Anatolia. These savoury stuffed flatbreads have become a staple at Aussie festivals and markets, but the one made for me was a cut above the rest.