Edit 20/05/2012: Baba has been replaced by burger joint The B.East - it has a veg option but we didn't love it.
My job demanded a lot of me in the first fortnight of December, and Michael kindly ensured that I was well fed and well entertained in the hours I had away from my work. (I hope he kept you well entertained too, with his three consecutive blog posts - possibly a new record! And I think he's got more to come.) This included dinner at Baba on Friday night.
The edible options at Baba haven't changed an awful lot since we last blogged it two years ago (if anything there are probably fewer), though a new-ish bright yellow awning and matching printed menus do something to alter the vibe.
The cocktail list is an attractive one and although Shirley Temples are not explicitly offered any longer, they were happy to ad lib a mocktail for Michael. It was even tastier than my potent concoction and a third of the price.
The eggplant ezmesi ($8) was as silky and smoky as we remembered it, and came with a very generous portion of bread.
The saganaki and carrot fritters (4 for $11) also hit their mark again - a bit of saltiness, a bit of chew and lovely crumbing, all set off with judicious dashes of yoghurt, olive oil, salt and pepper.
The roast pumpkin smash pizza ($13) with fetta, walnuts and dates didn't live up to my very fond memories. There was almost no pumpkin to be seen or tasted, and the fetta dominated everything. It didn't have that range of sweetness, gentle bitterness and warm spices that so excited me previously, just an agreeable but one-dimensional saltiness.
The fried potatoes ($8) were the one new dish for us, and a very impressive one at that. The spuds were tender and waxy and dressed with a deft hand, rich with olive oil and yoghurt but never gluggy. Onions, fresh herbs and a shake of hot spice made 'em pop. (Oh lord, I am so sorry to use the word 'pop'. Has Masterchef not ruined it for us all?)
And with that we were full and very happy, unable to consider the dessert menu. We received pretty good service, which is a vast improvement on our first two visits, and the music volume was kept in check. Baba might be flawed but it sure hits some high notes.