Babaji Pide

Babaji Pide
Located in the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue, Alan Yau’s latest addition to his vast food empire, Babaji Pide.

History and Background:

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, is Turkish, so this may explain it.)

Situated between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, the restaurant is covered in blue, glossy Iznik tiles to give a much more ornate and intricate feel compared to its Chinese neighbors. Staff hired are Turkish natives – or fluent in Turkish, giving off a very authentic, middle eastern vibe throughout the restaurant.

‘Istanbul Pide Salonu’ translates to Istanbul Pizza shop (very rough translation here); so of course, trying some Turkish pizzas is a must!

Babaji Pide
An employee taking Pide straight out of the massive oven located in the centre of the restaurant
Ground floor of Babaji allows you to see the pizza action

The meal:

So there were mixed reviews from this place, particularly from some of those who are more familiar with Turkish food (I only really have one source… and that was from Liam). Based on recommendations he and my sister gave, we ordered the following below:

Babaji Pide
Eating companions, Nazia and Gary
Babaji Pide
Kayseri Pide (Beef Pastrami & Kasar cheese) £8.50

The portion was smaller than I expected, and the Kayseri Pide reminded me of a normal Pepperoni pizza from Dominoes…The pide was more elliptical however, and baked fresh from the oven. Thin and delicate, and nothing too heavy. Below we ordered home made humus with some bread. The humus was very weird and very bitty. Wasn’t sure if this was a typical Turkish humus or it was just made badly. Taste was also lacking.

Warm flat bread £1.00
Babaji Pide
Home made Humus £4.20
Babaji Pide
Grilled Lamb Cutlets (served with spicy red and green harissa) £9.50
Babaji
Borek, (filo pastry with cheese and spinach) £5.50
Fine crumbs inside the filo pastry

Lamb cutlets was well liked by all. Borek, however, we found it to be too dry. We then tried another Turkish dish. Manti, which are beef filled ravioli with yoghurt, Turkish chilli flake and butter. It was lukewarm when we ate it, but that might have had something to do with me taking too long on photos…oops.

Manti £10.50
Hamsi £8.50
Babaji
Pan-fried whitebait in breadcrumbs. Crispy and tender, no complaints!
Kiymali Pide £8.00
Babaji
Minced lamb, tomato and red pepper

DSC08783

Pistachio Baklava £5.00

The second pide was not bad, but it wasn’t anything outstanding. Everyone likes pizza, whatever cuisine it may be, so do try these out if you have the chance. The best part of the meal were the desserts. We ordered two portions of homemade pistachio baklava, and these were amazing. Enriched with crushed pistachio upon layers of filo pastry, it felt almost too delicate to eat it. My sister can make Baklavas so it’s no secret obsession of mine. (Not to mention that I like pistachios in everything…)

My absolute favourite!

Unfortunately, what was recommended to me – the Kagit Helva (clotted ice cream wafer sandwich and crushed pistachio) was sold out. But this is a definite must try! Below is the rice pudding, served cold with sour cherry.

Rice Pudding £4.50

Service: Discretionary 10% service charge, nice waiters, but may take a bit long to get their attention. Sometimes I personally just have bad timing.

The bits and bobs:

  • Probably do not need to state the obvious, but it is halal.
  • There is a downstairs and an upstairs
  • No bookings, there tends to be a queue, but there is a heater installed on the wall outside!
  • They are not licensed to takeaway, so if you want to takeaway desserts (like me) then order extra and then have them package it in a box to bring home

Price: ££

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Square Meal

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