You may have heard of Sofra Bakery and Cafe, a small breakfast and lunch place that serves up the big flavors of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece, with a contemporary take on that region’s sweet and savory dishes. The cult favorite has many Wellesley-ites making the drive a comparatively teensy bit east, just down the road to Cambridge, to satisfy their adventurous palates.
You should bring your own curious tastebuds and see what all the fuss is about. Sofra is the kind of place that serves breakfast, but not scrambled eggs; lunch, but not Caesar Salad or turkey wrap; soup, but not chicken noodle. Deal me in. I make that kind of stuff at home all the time, so when I go out to eat, I am generally looking for something I can’t just whip up out of boredom and muscle memory. Sofra readily supplies that.
I was inspired to visit after the owner, Ana Sortun, and the head pastry chef, Maura Kilpatrick, paid a visit to Wellesley Books to promote their new cookbook, Soframiz, at a signing and tasting event (which I’ll tell you about in a bit). Since they were kind enough to come to our town and, being great guests, brought plenty of food, I decided to go and experience their hospitality in an atmosphere that offered more charm than the fluorescent-lighted basement of Wellesley Books. I wanted to see what went on in their domain. I wanted to experience the very soul of the food they brought to Wellesley and feel the vibe of the place where it was cooked.
I visited for breakfast with a friend, a regular there, who steered me toward the Spiced Barley & Lentils, served with an over-easy egg, broccolini, and garlic yogurt ($9). The yolk was nicely runny, all the better to mix around with the barley and lentils. The garlic yogurt, which I was rather unsure of given the early hour, was a big win, subtly infused, not saturated, with garlic. The broccolini gave me my first of the five veggies I strive for every day, and offered a brightly flavored counterpoint to the autumnal dish.
Other dishes on the breakfast menu: Asure, which is a whole grain hot cereal with chickpeas, pistachio, almond, dried fruit, and rose ($5); morning bun with orange blossom glaze ($3); Greek yogurt parfait with spoon sweets, grano, and honey ($6); and of course, coffee, espresso, tea, lattes, and more.
For lunch, interesting possibilities included: mushroom & freekah salad ($3.50 for a side-dish portion); carrot soup, served with two crick-cracks ($6) ; flatbread stuffed with sirloin, caramelized onion, tomato, Turkish spices, jus; creamy leek and potato pie ($8); and more.