Since moving to Watertown I've heard time and time again from other residents, "You have to eat at Sofra!" I learned about Sofra about a year ago from a fellow Boston food blogger who was nothing short of obsessed.
Sofra is run by Ana Sortun, the same culinary mastermind behind Cambridge's acclaimed restaurant Oleana. Sofra is more of a bakery than a restaurant and it sits on the unassuming corner of Belmont Street and Mount Auburn Street.
Yesterday morning I made my first trip. The sun was shining brightly and the storefront glistened as I walked toward the entrance.
Though the Sofra space is small, the bakery has a charming outdoor patio with an excellent people watching view. Every time I drive by Sofra on my way home the patio is packed! Apparently 9:00am on a Sunday is a wee bit early.
When I pulled the door to open it I noticed the bakery hours are scribbled in marker on the center of the door.
Inside the line was already wrapped around the first counter. The Sofra menu is hand written on butcher paper above the cash registers. The menu is short but each item sings with traditional Mediterranean ingredients.
Before placing my order I walked up to the counter to scope out the baked goods. There were rows and rows of tantalizing treats.
I ultimately made two selections - one savory and one sweet. On the left is the tart of the day which featured butternut squash and one the right is the morning bun.
The butternut squash tart had buttery, flaky dough and perfectly seasoned squash decorating the top.
For me and the morning bun, it was love at first sight. From it's fun, flower-like shape to it's decadent sugary drizzle, I knew I was going to be enamored with this pastry. What I didn't know was that it was accented with orange blossom whose citrus flavor would cut the sweetness perfectly. As I ripped away piece by piece, I also discovered that the bottom layer of the bun was pure cinnamon sugar. It took all my will power not to lick the wrapper.
To accompany my pastries I ordered a cup of hot mulled apple cider. The blend of mulling spices with delightfully fall and I drank it as slowly as possible to savor every spice-filled sip.
The dining area at Sofra consists of two lounge-like seating areas clearly inspired by Mediterranean dining and drinking traditions. It reminded me of the nights I ate in a bedouin tent in Israel.
From my seat I noticed the beautiful exposed beam ceiling and the elegant industrial lighting.
Next to me two women were each enjoying a hot bowl of Shakshuka, a dish of eggs poached in a tomato broth and served with a freshly baked roll. The next time I visit Sofra this is absolutely what I am ordering.
In addition to the breakfast and lunch offerings, Sofra also has a generous gift section. There are spices for sale as well as jams, teas, cookies, crackers and chocolates. Now I know where to come anytime I need a hostess gift!
On the back left wall Sofra has a refrigerator case with prepared foods.
Had I not been heading to a morning matinee after breakfast, I would have stocked up on Sofra goodies for lunch and dinner! You can take home all kinds of dips, spreads, veggie dishes and even handmade chocolates.
The next time I host a dinner party I going to stock up a Sofra!
My morning at Sofra was divine. The pastries were heavenly, my mulled cider was wonderful and the staff were friendly and welcoming. I can't wait to go back and order the Shakshuka or the Turkish breakfast - a soft boiled egg in a nest of phylo dough served with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese. Now that I know about the prepared food section and the gifts section, I will be set for every occasion.
Have you been to Sofra? What is your favorite treat?