Turkish Tastes at Babaji, Soho

Turkish Tastes at Babaji, Soho

I was recently approached by CitizenMag, who wanted to chat about some of the city’s coolest eateries and things to do – and were willing to send me off on a foodie fact-finding mission at a top local restaurant of my choosing. Not bad, eh? After reading their review of Babaji, I was absolutely sold on the fact I HAD to visit.

Opened by Alan Yau, the man behind Wagamama, Yauatcha and Hakkasan, the concept of Babaji is pretty simple – offering quality Turkish Pide in central London, inspired by Yau’s Turkish wife and his love for the country’s cuisine. If you’ve never wrapped your lips round some Turkish Pide before, it’s basically a pizza-like topped bread with cheese and lots of tasty bits.

The exterior of the building definitely stands out on theatreland’s Shaftesbury Avenue – clad in iron, designed by Turkish studio Autoban. A little at odds with its surroundings, but it surprisingly REALLY works. The interior is beautifully decorated with blue tiling, large windows and ample seating space. On the ground floor, the large pide oven is just as much decor feature as is kitchen – the openness of it means you’re able to watch your pide being cooked up in front of you.

Babaji Restaurant London Turkish CoffeeBabaji Turkish Restaurant London Nigde Gazozu

After a cheerful greeting and being seated near the window (score one for natural photo lighting), we started off with some drinks. Conor had a Turkish coffee (£3) – despite my recent discovery after a sip of a flat white that actually, I might be able to do this coffee thing, Turkish coffee is very strong and bitter. Not my jam at all, but he liked it, and it came with such a cute little setup.

Instead, I had a bottle of Niğde gazozu (£2.50) – a lemonade-style fizzy soft drink that was amazingly light and refreshing. In fact, I liked it so much, I ended up having two. Who says soft drinks ain’t no fun?

Turkish Eggs and Sucuk

Because it was most definitely Sunday brunchtime, we grabbed a bowl of Fried Eggs and Sucuk (£6.80). If you don’t know what sucuk is (I didn’t either. The power of Google…), it’s a dry, spicy sausage made from ground meat – usually beef – with plenty of spices thrown in. When I say spices, the sucuk with the eggs wasn’t actually particularly hot, but more in the sense that they brought out a whole palate of lively flavours. The eggs themselves were fantastically cooked – oozing out all over the sucuk with plenty of seasoning.

Alongside the eggs, we also had a plate of Izmir Green Olives and sun blushed tomatoes (£2.50). The olives were smaller than the more common ones you might be accustomed to from the supermarket, but really tasty and salty. The sunblush tomatoes were also a great compliment to the egg, and I ended up mixing them in with the egg and the sucuk. Trust me, it’s great. Having also paid £3+ for a tiny bowl of olives before, I felt like the sizeable plate of these offered really good value for money.

Of course, we grabbed some Oven Baked Halloumi with Datterini vine tomato and oregano (£5.50) to share. Probably one of the tastiest halloumi plates I’ve ever had, my only regret was not ordering one each. AMAZING.

Babaji Restaurant London Turkish PideBabaji Turkish Restaurant London Pide

For the sake of ‘research’ (and the fact we were super hungry and in need of all the carbs), we ordered two pide dishes to share. The first was the Afyon Pide (£8.80), topped with beef sucuk, tulum kaşar cheese,
red chilli & parsley. And it was AMAZING. The generous amount of cheese was beautifully melty and oozing, perfect with the thin and crisp bread encasing the filling. The chilli gave the beef and cheese a little extra kick without being too hot for more delicate tastes.

Our second pide was the Kiymali – minced lamb, tomato & pepper (£8.50). I think I slightly preferred the Afyon, but this one was still delicious – with the toppings more spread across the bread rather than inside it. The flavours were fantastic together, and the thin bread really allowed the topping tastes to come through. I am definitely a newly initiated pide lover.

Babaji Turkish Restaurant London menu

The one negative issue we did have at Babaji was with the service, which seemed to get rather muddled between table and kitchen. The servers didn’t actually write down our order, and memorising it definitely caused a few problems.

One of our pides was missed off the order, so we ended up having it after we’d eaten everything else, and we also ordered the corn bread with guacamole, and were then told it was out of stock – but it still ended up making it’s way onto the bill. However, the service team were ridiculously lovely and friendly, it was hard to stay mad at them. They sorted their mistakes quickly and knocked our drinks off the bill as an apology.

Issues with the service aside, I absolutely adored the food we had at Babaji. I’d happily eat here again next time I’m in the Shaftesbury Avenue area – and even if I’m not, it’s worth making the trip for.

Are you a fan of Turkish cuisine?

Babaji
53 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 6LB
www.babaji.com

*I was given some spends by CitizenMag to do this review – as usual, all opinions are honest.

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  • reneejessome

    I’ve never tried Turkish food before but after seeing this I definitely need to!!

    Renee | Life After Lux

    • I think you do! 😀

  • fashion-mommy

    Totally a fan of Turkish cuisine, we have a couple of good Turkish restaurants quite close by.

    • I definitely want to eat more of it now!

  • Never tried turkish cuisine before but looks absolutely amazing and delicious

    • It really is – definitely worth trying out!

  • I have to admit I don’t think I’ve tried Turkish food before, but how delicious does this lay out look! x

    • I can confirm it tasted as good as it looks!

  • GlamourGlitterGloss

    I can’t say I’ve had Turkish food before but the Fried Eggs and Sucuk sounds delicious and I am always intrigued by Halloumi dishes, the texture really confuses me but yet I still want to eat it

    • Halloumi is my fave! Get what you mean about the texture though, it’s a little strange if you’re not used to it!

  • I love Turkish food and this is somewhere I would love to try, I like the sound of the oven baked halluomi. The pide looks good too x

    • It was all fantastic for sure!

  • hmmm, I love Turkish food! I find the local cuisine very colourful and healthy. Oh halloumi, love that one too! Next time in Soho, need to try this place 🙂

    • You definitely should!

  • I’d be interested in trying some Turkish cuisine. These dishes do sound good!

    I wonder if I’d like the coffee.

    • It’s an interesting taste – so bitter. Boyfriend liked it though!

  • Jessica

    Now, I am craving for Baked Halloumi with Datterini vine tomato and oregano! I love turkish food! 🙂

    • Oh man it was SOOOO good!

  • Mmm yum! SO many of the yums at this place! How lovely to have somewhere like this nearby to eat!

    • ALL THE YUMS, I know 😀 Living in London is my fave for restaurants, always somewhere new to try!

  • Hungry_Healthy_Happy

    I love Turkish food and anything that has halloumi with it is good with me.

    • Halloumi is just the greatest, right?!

  • I’ve never been to a Turkish restaurant but I love trying new cuisines so I must try this out! I love the Soho area, so much great stuff to eat and do 🙂

    • I reckon you could eat three meals a day at different places in London for a year and never visit the same place twice!

  • Beautyqueenuk

    I do love Turkish food, especially Sukuk on a pizza x

    • It’s so good right?

  • Laura

    I love Turkish food so will absolutely book mark your blog post so that I can go when I next have some free time in london! xxxx

    • Yay, do it! (and if you need a food buddy, always happy to go again!!)

  • This looks delicious, I don’t think I have ever been to a proper Turkish restaurant but this is one i will be saving for next time in in town!

    Kenzie x
    http://www.lemonaidlies.co.uk

  • Nicola Murdock

    That looks fabulous .. nom nom!