Hey, Foodwala’s… It was a glorious Sunday afternoon and the perfect weather to kick back and enjoy an ice cold Sekanjabin (Persian Lemonade), but I was on diva sitting duty the thus on beck and call of Rarri Foodwalee and her sidekick Bakree Foodwalee.
They decreed that we should drive to Edinburgh so they can visit their spiritual home Harvey Nichols, off we duly went and while I sat outside Harvey Nichols while they went inside and got their fix I noticed a sign…
” you have to know the rules… to break them”
That got me pondering that statement, I wondered why do some people keep on doing things because they always have done that and why some people disrupt the status quo? and change things
in my opinion, disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors — in the same way that a square is a rectangle but not all rectangles are squares. Still with me?
Baba specialises in Mezze from the Levent, however, they have taken an Avant-Garde approach to the traditional Mezze, with beetroot hummus, whipped feta and hazelnut dukkah and muhammara, Aleppo chilli and chopped walnuts
In the immortal words of Spock ” Its Mezze, Jim, but not as we know it”
As we entered Baba, the dining room was designed in a fashionably distressed postcolonial Lebanese sitting room with Persian carpets and antique mirrors adorning the walls .
The restaurant had a nice calm and atmospheric feel about it.
We kicked off the proceedings with some delicious Cauliflower Fritters with a Zhug, which is a Yemeni Jewish hot sauce and creme fraiche giving the hot sauce some balance, it was absolutely delicious, the fritters were light and crispy and the Zhug and creme made the palate dance
The house Baba Ganouch was delicious, the aubergine and tahini still retained the smokiness of the barbecued aubergine and was tempered with the pomegranate molasses and fresh mint.
again it was an old mezze staple but was expertly re crafted using complementing flavours.
The beetroot hummus was definitely a disrupter, the beetroot puree was folded into the hummus thus giving a slightly sweet hue to the earthy hummus.
Next up was Beirut inspired grilled monkfish on a bed of melt in the mouth zataar chickpeas, the monkish was fresh and meaty , monkfish is a fish that if cooked too long becomes dry and brittle, this was grilled on point
This dish had no overriding flavour and I suspect was added to the menu to appease the vegetarian contingent, the flavour of the red shallots and beetroot morphed into sameness and i could not pick out an anchor flavour.
The hummus had a nice grainy consistency and that means that fresh dried chip peas were soaked and then crushed with tahini and folded with olive oil and seasoning, it is refreshing to see the old techniques still being used in the age of avant-garde and change.
In conclusion, the chefs at Baba understood the traditional ways of the Mezze from the lavent and introduced new ingredients and flavours to enhance the Mezze, this was definitely not changed for change sake however it was bringing the age-old mezze into the millennial age.