Since finishing chemo last year, eating a strictly vegan diet has fallen a little into the wayside. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve tried, but it seems that I’m destined to live more of an 85/15 (vegan/vegetarian) lifestyle. This has totally and utterly got to do with the fact that Alex and I love to eat out, and it’s places like Babaji, which make it all the more enjoyable to do so.
Babaji (Baba-juh) is a Turkish restaurant in the heart of Soho brought to you by Alan Yau, who specialises in both fast food and high end, having been associated with, or created restaurants such as Wagamama, Hakkasan, Yauatcha and many more. This guy knows his food and with a Turkish wife, it’s no surprise that he ventured into this area.
Babaji doesn’t take bookings for reservations of under eight people, but being more of a fast food restaurant, this didn’t seem to matter on Sunday when we visited. The staff did mention that we’d caught them on a quiet evening, which is always nice. I have since heard that you can often find yourself queuing for a table – a good sign, but I’m always pretty happy to be shown to mine on demand. Patience is a virtue… alas, not one of mine. I imagine the wait is never too long though because the service was pretty swift.
At the moment, one of my favourite ways to eat is to have a selection of pretty much everything on the menu and Babaji is the perfect place to do this. Alex and I ordered a lot. Probably too much, but no one was watching, so we just went for it! I’ve never had Turkish food before (or at least I don’t remember it if I have), so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can tell you that everything we ate was delicious. The staff were attentive, but not overly so, and it was a really relaxed atmosphere for an early dinner in the heart of Soho. They offer good fast food for an affordable price (including meat dishes, but with plenty of vegetarian options), in an area that can be tricky to find just that. I’d definitely pop in for more.
This watermelon juice was delicious. Unfortunately, it wasn’t mine.
Really nice hummus. I’m not going to say it’s the best I’ve ever had, but it certainly went down well.
This Caramelised Onion and Walnut Pide was pretty tasty. If I’m being picky, I would have to say that I’d have liked it a little more crispy, but I’d happily order it again.
Samphire with red pepper and sun blushed tomatoes with garlic – Strangely, we had never eaten samphire before and loved it so much that we bought a big batch that evening, to cook at home.
A little bit of everything, including a Beetroot Salad with vine tomatoes, pomegranate and a lemon and honey dressing.
Alex can never resist baklava and he loved this homemade pistachio baklava with vanilla ice cream. I tested it out (for research purposes) and can concur that it was pretty darn good.
Alex finished off his meal with a Turkish coffee and being a novice to the Turkish dining scene, failed to realise that you shouldn’t drink the sludge at the bottom. It wasn’t good – The look on his face told me that. Perhaps something the waitress should have mentioned when she served it to him. You live and learn!
Babaji , Istanbul Pide Salonu – 53 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6LB
Until next time x
This post is in collaboration with CitizenMag.