I’ll just start by stating that the food is freaking awesome! It’s the kind of food I adore ~ full rounded earthy flavours, that make you want to dig in and continue eating; the best of food from the earth with none of these poncy sauces and turning food into something that it shouldn’t be. It’s wholesome, it’s tasty and so very more-ish.
Baba is an independent restaurant located on the very expensive George Street and takes up the space previously filled by the Roxburghe Hotel. The front of the restaurant interior is quirky with a large communal table in the centre and booths to the sides; turquoise, topaz, greens and rustic burnt oranges and reds make up the colour palette whilst through the back of the restaurant you’ll find a more eclectic mix of seating, tables and interior design although still with a ode to the middle east.
Baba serves up Levantine cuisine or Arabic food from the Middle East, think Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Syria with influences coming from Turkey and Cyprus. It’s healthy, fresh and delicious serving up hearty dishes like hummus, baba ganoush, and tabbaleh.
The most recognisable thing about Levant food is mezze, small plate food meant for sharing; and chickpeas, halloumi, feta, aubergines, peppers, olives, pomegranates, pistachios, mint, lemon and yoghurt are all Levant staples made into dips, salads and pastes served with ingredients that are either grilled, battered, baked or roasted.
Hummus, crispy chickpeas, pine nuts and zhug (£4.50).
The hummus is light and creamy and the crispy chickpeas really elevate this dish. We scooped up every last dollop of this with our fluffy pita breads and genuinely couldn’t get enough.
Beiruti Burrata (£7.00)
The Burrata arrives smooshed open and drizzled with olive oil. Peppers lie on the top but I moved them to the side. This is one superb dish. The creaminess of the burrata, the little bit of heat from the jalepenos and chillis and the freshness of the herbs, make this a sublime dish.
Falafel, saffron tahini and zhug (£4.00)
A tower of falafels arrived at the table. Delicate balls of ground chickpeas and herbs, light and airy on the inside with a slightly crispy coating. The taste was subtle but went oh so well with the burrata and hummus.
The pita bread comes warm and soft in a brown paper packet. They are tremendous scooper-upper-ers! Tear them apart or break them open, either way, they easily hold anything you scoop up and deliver to your mouth.
Beef, lamb and bone marrow Kofte, sumac onions and smoked tomato Salmorejo (£9.50)
The onions on this was insane and the bone marrow gives this a lovely umami depth of flavour. Hazelnuts add the crunch. Yet another dish that was devoured in no time.
Cauliflower shawarma, ras el hanout, pomegranate and mint (£5.00)
This my friends is a thing of beauty and the flavours come at you from every side ~ a half whole cauliflower al dente. You’ll definitely pick up the mint and those pomegranate seeds offer just the correct amount of sweetness to balance this all out.
Heritage tomato, peach and pistachio salad (£5.50)
This was probably my least favourite dish of the night but it was still up there. The tomatoes were a little hard for me, they needed to be softer and more ripe to complement the sweet juiciness of the peaches. Taste wise, great combinations that work so well with the nuts.
Rosewater baklava and vanilla ice cream (£6.00)
If there’s Baklava on the menu, I’m gonna find it and eat it! Another gorgeous plate of food. By this stage we had to share this dessert as we were verging on full. This baklava is super crispy, and the filling isn’t at all sweet. I enjoyed this but I do prefer my baklava stickier, sweeter with lots more honey.
Would I go back to Baba? most definitely. Would I eat the same dishes over again? hell yes and then order everything else on the menu.
I thoroughly enjoyed Baba. I love the sharing aspect of this type of food. For me food is about love, family, friends, laughter, conversations and memories and this is one restaurant where you have the space to do so. The service was impeccable and the food utterly scrumptious.
Definitely in my Top 3 places to eat in Edinburgh.
Baba, 130 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4JZ. Tel : 0131 5274999 www.baba.restaurant
My Spoon Award : Gold Spoon 9/10