By Shereen Shabnam
Living across City Walk has not been good for my waistline and my current favourite restaurant is Babaji, the renowned authentic Turkish restaurant that serves crispy hot pide (delicious savoury flatbread) straight from its wood-fired brick oven with different delectable fillings.
From sweet to savoury, the authentic Turkish restaurant offers traditional dishes for all tastes. My favourite pide includes Kiymali with minced lamb, tomato pepper and parsley; Kavurmali with fried beef, eggs and mixed leaves; Tavuklu with chicken, onion, pepper, parsley and lemeon, Mevlana with beef, lamb, beef sucuk and kasar cheese; as well as Develi with diced beef, tomatoes, Turkish green pepper and parsley.
Catering to all tastes, the Babaji team offer sumptuous vegetarian options including Temel Reis with spinach, kasar cheese, onion and red chilli; Patates with potatoes, Izmir Tulum, kasar cheese and red chili; and the best seller, Four Cheese with halloumi, Izmir Tulum, kasar cheese and mozzarella.
Elevating the Ottoman dining experience, Babaji, takes us on a culinary journey of traditional dishes from Beypazari, Bodrum, and Bursa. We love the meze and the mixed grills prepared in truly authentic Turkish way – my favourite is meat served on mash grilled eggplant mixed with yoghurt.
To keep the menu interesting, Babaji does special dishes on different days. Depending on the day you visit, you can ask for chicken or lamb güveç. It is a dish made with succulent portions of melt-in-your-mouth marinated meat, slow cooked to perfection inside a traditional clay pot specially made for Babaji.
Some days they have çökertme, which is marinated meat immaculately grilled and served on top of crispy thin slices of potatoes with a tomato-based sauce and yoghurt, also available in lamb and chicken options.
During a recent visit, we tried the yaprak iskander and yaprak doner, which are made from leaf doner meat, expertly prepared from scratch in-house by Babaji’s skilled chefs. The iskander is served on traditional Turkish bread with tomato and butter with yoghurt on the side, while the doner can be served on homemade Lavash bread or on a bed of pilav rice. The best way to top off an authentic Turkish meal is to have traditional Ayran drink and in our case, everyone on the table had one.
Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in a famous Turkish dessert called Kayseri Cevizlisi, which is a crispy bread filled with buttered crashed walnut, served with tahina and honey. We also love irmik helvasi, made with fried semolina and served with Turkish ice cream and pine nuts plus the famous trilece butter cake, which is soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream.
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