In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Review: BaBa Levantine Trading. Lygon St East Brunswick

Wednesday night we ventured to Lygon Street, east Brunswick to try out the fairly new-ish Baba.

Chef James Wilkinson is cooking there and I really enjoyed his food at Jimmy Watson’s some years ago.

The space is a bit sparse, and I expected it to be a bit busier on a Wednesday night – but it is large and possibly deceptive.  The kitchen staff use “squeaky toys” to let the floor staff know that there is food to pick up – which is startling at first, and quirky thereafter.  The kitchen is VERY open.  I really liked the lampshades in the bar area, the one over our table seemed to get in the way of the waiters.

The menu is broken up into some out of the ordinary Mezze, Turkish Pizza Selections, Claypots and Kebabs and Deserts.  We could also have chosen a food safari (degustation East Brunswick style).

We opted to try our own luck and ordered Celeriac and Parsley Dip with Lime ($5) and Grilled Zucchinis, sheeps yogurt, pumpkin seeds and currants ($6).  The dip was brilliant, tasty, tangy and moorish.  The Zucchini suffered from being a bit watery, which diluted the other flavours too much.  The dressing of yogurt and Olive Oil was delicious, but not strong enough to work with the zucchini.    There are 28 Mezza selections so you could easily entertain eating just from small plates – which is some thing I think I would like to try.

We drank a turkish lemonade – not too sweet ($3) and Efes Turkish Beer ($6.50)

Next we tried the Turkish PIzza with Sucuk sausage, Kasarli Cheese and smoked tomato ($14) which arrived on a plank – a long, delicious, perfectly balanced tasty treat.  It was difficult to choose from the 7 pizzas on offer, and after tasting the crisp but flaky, melt-in-the-mouth base we will be happy to try a few more.

The chicken claypot with dried orange, mint and walnuts ($17)  was under-flavoured for my liking.  The flavour combination seemed enticing and it came with lovely pilaf rice, but the flavour juust wasn’t strong enough.  I think perhaps the chicken was on the menu to tempt the “not very adventurous” and lets face it, restaurants are there to make people happy, so perhaps it was the wrong choice.  Next time I think we should try the signature dish of goat tagine for 2.

Dessert was hard to go past, Turkish Delight Gelato ($6) and a stunning Rhubarb and rose petal pannacotta with rhubarb and pomegranate jelly ($9).

Throw in two glasses of decent wine, a turkish coffee and a mint tea and we ate very well for $71 (2 people)

Baba’s Website


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