Babaji, Istanbul Pide Salonu in Soho
When I first heard there was a place called Babaji in London’s Soho, images of the spiritual saint Babaji came to mind.
However, I was even more excited to learn that it was not a temple of devotees that had opened, but a Turkish Restaurant by renowned restaurateur Alan Yau. Yes, the man who brought us Londoners Yauatcha, Hakkasan, Wagamama and others.
citizenAnouchka says: deep-blue ceramic tiles handmade in Turkey line all the walls and ceiling for a modern but warm effect.
Since my dearest friends are Turkish and I have been holidaying Istanbul and parts of Turkey for over 20 years, I am very protective over anything Turkish. Hence, I wondered why Alan Yau was opening a Turkish Restaurant! I presumed it was because the cuisine is beyond delicious and varied? Only to read that Mr Yau’s wife, Jale Erentok, is Turkish!
The restaurant is beautifully designed by Turkish studio Autoban; the facade is completely clad in cast iron, and indoors deep-blue ceramic tiles handmade in Turkey line all the walls and ceiling for a modern but warm effect. Huge windows create a sense of space and light, with views over the entire Shaftesbury Avenue, theatre land, Soho and Chinatown.
On the ground level of the restaurant you will find the original Pide oven, this is what you must order. It’s a sort of Turkish ‘pizza’. I ordered some basics for my guests to try it out: Pide Develi, which is diced beef, tomato, turkish green pepper and parsley, and the Four Cheese Pide, which has halloumi, izmir tulum, kasar cheese and mozzarella. This was followed by another of my favourite dishes, Manti, Turkish ravioli filled with beef and topped with yoghurt and chilli and butter! We also had the roasted eggplant with red pepper and yoghurt, and Baby Chicken with pomegranate, pistachio and a mint and bulgur wheat salad.We wanted to have the whole menu but didn’t have room for more.
Also be sure to try the Turkish Breakfast, a I love the Menemen Eggs as well as delicious drinks such as Turkish tea and coffee amongst other local drinks such as ayran (a salted yoghurt drink), raki and pomegranate juice. The friendly and busy staff, most of them Turkish, topped off a very nice experience. As we left, a queue had formed to get in, I believe Babaji will be a huge success.
Their wonderful website has lots of interesting information about Turkish Cuisine, and explains what all the dishes are.
53 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 6LB
Mon - Thur 12:00 - 23:00
Fri & Sat 12:00 - 23:30
Sun 12:00 - 22:00
Sat & Sun 11:00 - 16:30
Image courtesy of Babaji