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Inspired by his Turkish wife, Chinese restaurateur Alan Yau puts the spotlight on traditional 'pide' (boat-shaped pizzas) at this mid-priced Middle Eastern eatery. Bright blue walls and a pizza oven dominate the cramped downstairs space, while the first floor affords expansive views of the West End and more legroom. Babaji's food was widely panned when it opened in 2014, but its current offer is vastly improved. The char-grilled courgette, tomato, walnut and goats' cheese pide is crisp and fun, while külbasti (grilled lamb, tomato sauce, yoghurt and flatbread) strikes a balance between tangy cream and succulent meat. Desserts add even more mischief (go for the 'kagit helva' wafer and ice-cream sandwiches), although prices come with a postcode premium – especially if you venture beyond the pide. The wine list is proudly all-Turkish, with back-up from aniseed-flavoured raki.
‘Istanbul Pide Salanu’ is etched in inviting gold lettering across the front of Babaji, and being a fan of Turkish food and especially the city of Istanbul itself I had to give it a try.This addition to Alan Yau’s food empire is low-key and modest in it's décor, unlike his other ventures such as Hakkasan and Yauatcha. The entrance has a huge pizza oven which spreads across the ground floor with a few tables dotted around it offering a perfect view of the furnace. There is also seating a larger seating space on the first floor, however be warned, the windows don’t open here and as heat rises it can get very...
More from Her Favourite Food »
With Hakkasan (1 Michelin), Yautcha (1 Michelin), Sake No Hana, Busaba Ethai, Wagamama, Princi and a few other eateries under his belt, its fair to say that Alan Yau is no stranger to the restaurant scene. (Please see Princi (Desserts) review here). He was awarded an OBE for his contribution to the food and restaurant industry in 2006 and has not slowed down since. Food critics, food bloggers, restaurant watchers and competitors alike play the guessing game to see what he has in store for us next. We did not expect however, that Turkish cuisine would be the next one up on the list. (Though, his wife, Jale Eventok,...
More from Eat With Steph »
Babaji is the latest venture from Alan Yau of Hakkasan and Wagamama fame, and is a departure from his usual top-notch Asian fare. Alan’s wife is Turkish so the connection is there, and Babaji aims to deliver no fuss, good quality food in the heart of the West End on Shaftesbury Ave, spitting distance from Les Mis.Turning up on a Sunday afternoon we were faced with a queue (they don’t take bookings) which had me very close to hopping over the road to grab a Chinese instead – I don’t have any patience for queuing outside restaurants. However a very sweet and smiley waiter came and promised us it was only 15...
More from Feeding Franklin | Welcome to the greedy business of feeding Franklin »
I'm definitely favouring time spent indoors at the moment - it's so bloody cold outside! Even better than being indoors is being indoors and eating amazing food so I was very excited to visit Babaji on Friday evening. Located on Shaftsbury Avenue, Babaji is owned by Alan Yau, the creator of Wagamama, and serves up Turkish food - with a particular focus on pide (a "Turkish pizza"). This might not seem like the most obvious opening but Yau's wife is Turkish and like Wagamama the food arrives super fast and is really reasonably priced. Also like Wagamama, no bookings are taken so try to arrive early to avoid a chilly...
More from LilyLipstick »
This might come as a surprise, but I travel by bus to work. It makes my journey longer but the positives far outweigh the negatives; great for people watching, always a seat available (although not when there’s a tube strike) but most importantly, a view of any new restaurant openings and Babaji was one of them.Located in the heart of central London on Shaftesbury Avenue, I witnessed the restaurant slowly put together before finally opening and then one day realising it had closed again (apparently due to a fire).
More from Ramblings of a Food Addict »
Levantine food, Turkish food, I’m lapping it up. So I really wanted to try Alan Yau’s new casual place in Piccadilly, Babaji Pide Salonu, which is dishing up some traditional Turkish food with a focus on pide (their version of pizza, a bit like their lahmacun but, I think, doughier bread and differently shaped).It’s a no-bookings deal but it was 7pm on a Monday so we didn’t think there would be too much trouble getting in and indeed we only had to wait ten minutes. The narrow space on the ground floor is deceiving so if it looks full fear not, there are plenty more tables upstairs. Many people have commented...
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