Age: 1 in September. Awww.
What are we talking? Kebabs.
Doners and burger sauce? Not quite. Think more along the lines of succulent, high welfare British meats, perfectly charred on an open grill. Layer generous amounts of lamb shoulder, short rib or goat belly – to name but a few of the offerings – on a bed of fattoush salad or a doughy Persian flatbread delivered fresh that morning: now you’re on the same page.
You have my attention. What’s the place like? Simple, sleek design: bare brick illuminated with red strip lights, paired with a pendulous gold-caged solar system lamps low lighting the intimate venue. Agile waiters dart through tables, replenishing cucumber-and-mint stuffed water bottles and retrieving kebabs from the open kitchen, framed with jars of vibrant red chilis. This could be a bar in Tel Aviv as easily as a restaurant in Stockholm.
What’s the vibe? Very chilled. There isn’t an ounce of pretension about this place. The simplicity of the concept, the minimalism of the design and the quality of the food enable the chipper waiters to serve explosively flavoursome plates of hearty food in a relaxed, buzzy atmosphere.
So how is the food? To start, we went for creamy sweet potato hummus dusted with harissa, made in-house, served with a slab of fluffy charred flatbread that tore apart like a marshmallow. We paired this with fried whitebait – air-light wafers of fish dusted in dukkah. Effortlessly gone in seconds: but perhaps a zesty sauce, lime or mint would have been a tasty companion.
And the mains? The rotisserie lamb shoulder was recommended by energetic owner-cum-waitress Eve. Sizeable chunks of rosy meat came infused with marinade having spent the last 24hrs seeping through every pore of the flesh before being flung on to the flaming open grill. Meanwhile a handful of cauliflower florets came juicy, slightly charred, with a perfect crunch, all harissa paste and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
A couple of dollops of the sweet potato humus gladly reappeared with the cauliflower, while red onion dressed in a treacle-like sauce accompanied the lamb. Both came placed on a bed of fattoush which saw slithers of lettuce and cabbage combine in a lemon dressed slaw.
And pleasingly, each bite out-performed the last. At this point we ordered a side of the sponge-like flatbread, covered in garlic, parsley and shavings of kaskaval cheese, which we used to dab around our trays, soaking up every remaining lip-smacking morsel.
And you still had room for dessert? Well, a scoop of mellow pistachio and natural yogurt ice cream came atop a heap of homemade honeycomb, with a shot glass of runny salted date caramel. Try and say no to that.
And the drinks? Inspired by a recent trip to Tel-Aviv, the team decided to introduce passionfuit margaritas to their drinks list. The sugar-spirit ratios are precisely balanced so as not to detract from the culinary spotlight. Plus there’s a selection of bottled IPAs and Efes (Turkey’s most popular beer) on draft. The wine list is concise and well-rounded, while cold press juices and coffee courtesy of Caravan come for those steering away from the sauce.
What’s the service like? High energy, efficient and friendly. The place was packed (on a Monday) but the service at no point subsided. Everyone seemed to enjoy working there, the staff as excited to place the food on the table as we were to receive it.
Anything to add? Probably the best thing about Bababoom is that the portions are substantial, but not that greasy, luggy full feeling of needing to be prized from your chair and rolled to the station. Guess fresh veg, charred bread and meat will do that for you.
Do say: “Can I book a table for your bottomless margarita brunch?”
Don’t say: “Got any ketchup, mate?”