Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 7, 2008: Baba II

Edit 20/05/2012: Baba has been replaced by burger joint The B.East - it has a veg option but we didn't love it.
We made a return visit to Baba on Friday night, this time in a group of eight peeps from my workplace. I had my sights firmly set on the mixed dessert plate and planned my savoury courses accordingly - again, the smokey eggplant ezmesi shared around with bread ($5), followed by the sublime spiced pumpkin pide ($14). Meanwhile, Miki ordered the Imam bayildi ($15, above) - a claypot of eggplant and tomato ragu crowned with a deep-fried labne ball. This, like the other non-vegetarian claypots ordered around the table, was not huge and would have benefitted from some bread or couscous on the side. Nevertheless, it was a delightful mix of flavours and textures - Miki loved it, but was generous enough to give me a taste.

Michael ventured further into the pide menu, choosing a combination of Milawa goats cheese, roasted beetroot, stinging nettle puree and pickled turnip ($14). This was another winner, with Michael singling out the vibrant pickled turnip as the star.

Sadly, Baba's service hasn't been streamlined at all since our last visit. The staff seem perfectly efficient, and I can only assume that there just aren't enough of them on the floor on any given night. Much of my group grew restless as I doggedly waited to catch someone's eye with the purpose of requesting the dessert menu. I zoomed in on the Tatli mezze, which the menu states as requiring a minimum of two people, and bullied Michael into sharing it with me. (I figured other people might want a taste, too, once they saw it!) Then disaster struck - as I excitedly placed the order with our waiter, he said that we couldn't have the Tatli mezze unless everyone at the table ordered it. For us, the minimum wasn't two - it was eight.

I consoled myself with an order of cinnamon-sugared donuts with pistachio and thyme honey ($8). They took so long to arrive that, even given the other service hitches, I wondered if they'd been forgotten. When the donuts did appear, though, they were super-fresh and hot and there were plenty to share around. I'm not a big honey fan, and there was a lot of it here, but the thyme brought something unique to it.

There's no denying that the food at Baba rocks, but boy is it delayed gratification! Next time I'm up for Levantine on Lygon, I might make a reservation at Rumi.

You can read about our previous visit to Baba here.


  1. You need more posts with birds in them.

  2. Eurgh, I hope I didn't frighten Michael too much this afternoon! I guess you've guessed that I was the crazy woman waving at you madly this afternoon from Trotters' window...

    I'm happy to have got a good Michael and Cindy sighting in before I go overseas on Thursday, though! Hoorah!

    xox Liz

  3. Hiya Liz! Yep, Michael had worked out who you were by the time he was just out of sight, and I'd put the right blogger to his haphazard description by the time we'd made it to the intersection - sorry the encounter wasn't a little more interactive. :-)

    I hope your overseas trip's a great one!

  4. It seems to be a universal opinion with Baba - good food, poor service and some strange organisational issues, such as the bizarre scenario you experienced with the dessert plate.

    While the crowds keep flocking, here's hoping they get motivated to bring the service up to the food standard!

  5. Hi Fi! Yeah, I think many of us have been willing to excuse a few hiccups on our first visit... but this second one has put me off a little. :-/

  6. Hi :)

    Is Baba still open? Their website doesn't work anymore.

  7. It was last time we wandered past - two or three weeks ago. Not sure what's going on with the website.