Wonderful smells filled my nostrils as soon as i walked into Baba, on the corner of George street the colourful restaurant has been open since last November and offers a taste of the Levant; delicious dishes inspired by the cuisine from countries including Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey.
The idea is to order many smaller dishes and share, much like Spanish tapas, which works perfectly for a greedy wee foodie like myself as it means i can try many of the tempting dishes on offer.
The beetroot hummus, whipped feta and hazelnut dukkah was sensational; the feta had that wonderful salty tang and was so creamy, the hummus earthy and slightly sweet all topped with a generous drizzle of nutty olive oil. It was fantastic with the warm soft pita, perfect for scooping up in one big bite.
The smell of the baharat beef kofta, butternut, yoghurt and aleppo chilli reached my nose before i could even see the dish and when i did i was not disappointed; rich salty beef in sweet butternut puree, every mouthful was delicious and the fruitiness of the aleppo chilli worked wonderfully with the coolness of the fresh yoghurt.
The baked sweet potato, zhug and crème fraîche was warm, creamy and bursting with flavour. Zhug is a traditional middle eastern spicy sauce of garlic, coriander, chilli, salt and cumin that sang with flavour and is something i will attempt to recreate at home.
My sister ordered the squid, merguez sausage and salmorejo, a puree of tomatoes, bread, oil and garlic, which was light and rich all in one; the squid crispy and the sausage meaty and intense with flavour this was a perfect dish to steal a bite of.
The slow-cooked pork belly, charcoal-baked celeriac and golden raisins pulled apart beautifully, the pork was so tender and moist and the raisins plump and sweet. My grandpa loved it so much i had to wrestle a bite off him but i am so glad i did, this dish was warm, comforting and the right amount of salty and sweet.
To accompany all this exquisite food i sipped on a sweet cocktail of gin, almond, rose and egg whites decorated with gorgeous purple flowers. It was sweet, fresh and floral and the only less than perfect thing about it was that there was not enough. A heavenly treat for a fabulous lunch with some of my nearest and dearest and some of the most flavourful food i have eaten.
The staff at Baba were super friendly and patient, explaining every spice we had not heard of and stopping to explain the dishes they were bringing out to other diners when they noticed my wee face lit up, neck craned to have a look. Baba is great for families, a romantic dinner for two or organising that long overdue gals night to drink and laugh the night away, I can’t wait to go back and finish trying everything they have to offer.