Babaji – Soho – London
For those of you that are London based and like to follow the food scene, it’s virtually impossible not to have come across one of Alan Yau’s restaurants, the former founder of Wagamama’s and for a more upmarket spin on Modern Asian cuisine Hakkasan and Yauatcha. Where previously he’d sold off his shares in the brands he’d established, Alan was no stranger to diversifying his cullinary interests, such as the Milanese inspired bakery, Princi‘s. Adding to his establishments, is the recently opened in December modern Turkish inspired cafe/restaurant Babaji Pide, on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Wardour Street, a high profile location in Soho.
Entering the venue, one element that strikes you immediately, is how well decorated the place is, with tiles and little touches on the furnishing that does remind you of a Turkish restaurants, as opposed to the previous occupants of the site, a steak house. The friendly staff greeted me at the door and offered me a seat and menu quite promptly, allowing me time to peruse the menu in my own time, with Turkish music playing in the background.
What is Babaji Pide, I hear you ask? In itself a pide a Turkish flat bread, similar to a oblong pizza, with minced ingredients on-top, baked until crisp in a large stone oven. Traditionally it’s normally served as a light meal with the yoghurt drink ayran, surprisingly is served as a main dish in this venue. The menu itself has various other dishes, in my time visiting, I thought I’d try for the more traditional fair, as a reminder of a time I spent on vacation in Turkey a few years ago.
As a starter I thought I’d go with a more traditional borek, which is a feta, spinach and mixed herb baked filled filo pastry, with a sesame seeds lightly sprinkled on-top.
In this case the the borek is also called a Sigara Böreği, which was quite delicate and savoury dish I enjoyed eating and would quite happily order again.
I decided upon the lamb / Kiyamali as my pide, which came with a side order of salad and sliced into half a dozen pieces, it was surprisingly light and tasty, with the tomate sauce, lamb and herbs, though my tastes tend to lean more on the spicey side of dishes, so as you can see in the photo below, I added a fair bit of chilli to give it more of a kick.
Apart from the ornate decor, one of the more striking elements in the venue, is the stone oven which is visible wherever you are seated in the restaurant.
As you can see in the photo below, it resembles a a futuristic capsule or a giant pill. All I know is what pop’s out of that pill are pretty tasty treats.
Washing the light meal down, I decided upon a Turkish coffee for a little mid-day pick me up. The beans themselves were nice, however I was expecting the coffee to either eat the through the spoon or make it stand to attention. In this case it was perfectly acceptable, I think my tolerance to caffeine is starting to show through.
So what’s my verdict of Babaji Pide? It was a nice twist on Turkish cuisine and a good location. The main problem I have however, is what you pay is probably twice of what you’d normally pay in a more traditional Turkish restaurant in London’s outer suburbs. However if you feel like a light snack or are curious, it is worth a look, I just probably wouldn’t choose it as one of my goto places in Soho.
53 Shaftesbury Avenue
(T) 020 3327 3888
Posted on March 10, 2015, in Food, Review and tagged Alan Yau, Babaji, Borek, Coffee, Feta, Giant Pill, Kiyamali, Lamb, London, Pide, Restaurant, review, Shaftesbury Ave, Sigara böreği, Spinach, Stone Oven, Turkish. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.