Babagoosh is the latest addition to Lahore’s Turkish restaurant variety. Legend has it that Babagoosh was a chef to the Ottoman royalty at the Topkapi palace in the 14th century. After he died, it is said that no one could come close to replicating his food to perfection. With a restaurant up-and-running in Islamabad, Shahid Arif and Raja Qaisar, who brought Babagoosh to Lahore, said it was the venture’s success that drove their decision. With two Turkish restaurants Nisa Sultan and German Doner Kabab already doing fairly well, the duo is certain Babagoosh will bring an edge to Turkish food.
Located in the central locality of Mini Market, the restaurant has a uniquely Turkish interior with red and blue hanging lamps. They also have a LCD screen with video clips of their unique methods of food preparations, which is interesting to watch as one waits to indulge in their food. The ambiance was casual, exuding a no-fuss interior, with the right amount of Turkish grandeur and aura that an eatery of this nature needs.
No visit to a Turkish restaurant is complete without trying their hummus. Their ‘All in one’ starter-platter, priced at Rs350, comprised Hummus, Fattoush, Tabouleh, Falafel and Tahini. Everything was flavoursome, except for the falafel, which fell short of expectations.
The Babagoosh doner kabab came with the choice of beef, chicken or lamb. For Turkish-newbies, it is a dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The sliced meat may be served with bread or on a plate on its own and is commonly referred to as shawarma in Arabic. A challenge to eat, it was only after angling it that it could be devoured. For convenience, it’d be better if they could perhaps chop the meat chunks smaller.
The lamb platter came with the choice of fries or rice. It featured juicy chunks of lamb and vegetables. The generous serving could easily be split between two or three people. Turkish food is generally simple in presentation, with its natural flavour not camouflaged by sauces. Babagoosh lived up to expectations in that regard. The sauces were placed in small bowls on the side, to add according to personal taste.
A mainly self-service restaurant, Babagoosh hosts a different take on authentic cuisine. The food took about 10 minutes to prepare and be served, which was reasonable waiting time. Once the food arrived, the Turkish kehwa that was ordered failed to arrive on time, but was served upon re-ordering.
Verdict: Overall, Babagoosh is ideal for the quick Turkish food fix. It’s said that when people travel to Turkey, they come for the history but stay for the food and we understand why. The new eatery is the kind of place to go if you want to devour wholesome, good-quality food
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2015.
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