There's nary a kebab – or rather, kebap – to be seen or smelled inside youngish Turk Erhan Coban's Maitland eatery, but in all fairness, the place is called the Sourdough Bread House, not Erhan's Emporium of Anatolian Abattoir Eats. The man has no plans to beef, lamb or chicken up his menu in any way and, instead, is sticking to breakfast and lunch offerings with Turkish leanings.
Of particular note is the namesake bread – Coban likens it to both San Francisco sourdough (though I didn't find his bread anywhere near as sour) and German bauernbrot (a more accurate comparison). My favorite is his walnut sourdough; I find its purply interior, a result of the iron in the flour reacting with the gallic acid in the walnut skins, enticing. The colorful bread accompanies an order of the traditional breakfast ($19.50) – a positively Byzantine assemblage of nuts, fruits, vegetables, jams, dips, spreads, cheeses and a fried egg.
They're all served in cute plates and vessels strategically set by servers to maximize table space, and they're a lot of fun to dive into. For one, everything from the Persian cukes and grape tomatoes to the bracing mint and plump blueberries is undeniably fresh. Then the dips – tahini layered with molasses, zahter mixed in olive oil – anoint that walnut sourdough with exotic flavorings. You'll get kaymak (clotted cream), butter, Turkish white cheeses, green and kalamata olives, and a slice of avocado. By the time you get to the local honey, sour cherry jam and spicy ezme spread, you'll be asking for more bread.
If you opt for the American breakfast ($13.90), just know that it's not American-sized, but you'll enjoy the two fried eggs, 2 dollar pancakes, beef bacon (it's a Muslim thing) and Greek yogurt with granola nonetheless.
Oh, and Turkish tea (with complimentary refills) is included with your vibrant breakfast, but Turkish tea is good any time of day and a few cups along with a cold meat plate ($14.90) makes a simply enjoyable lunch. I say "simply" because what you're served with the tea is a pineapple wedge, a strawberry and a side of ezme with slices of sourdough bread topped with meat – roast beef, smoked turkey, beef bacon and pastrami. No spreads, toppings or unnecessary embellishments. (Pastrami, by the way, has its roots in pastirma – an air-dried, cured meat enjoyed in Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire alike – so keep that in mind next time you pop into Katz's Deli.) The sourdough bread plate ($13.90) presents a slightly healthier lunchtime option with hummus, avocado, labneh and smoked salmon replacing the cold cuts.
The restaurant sits behind the angled midcentury columns that make the Maitland Plaza a looker, but the interior is all coastal farmhouse – bright, woodsy, inviting. You'll linger, no doubt, but on your way out, pick up a loaf of two of bread ($8) and peruse the display case of muffins, pastries and cookies. I always seem to leave with a bag of oatmeal cookies ($1.50) and another bag of salted caramel brown-butter shortbread cookies ($1.50). They're a delight, Turkish or otherwise.