Chicken donner and chips with garlic sauce: that was 19-year-old me. Now 27 and living in London's kebab capital, Stoke Newington, I stupidly believed that my local BYOB Turkish was the best kebab I'd ever get.
Boy, was I wrong. There's a new kebab kid in town in the shape of BabaBoom, an independent restaurant and the brainchild of three, foodie mates. Promising to offer way more than your humble donner or shish, I headed down to Battersea Rise to give Bababoom a good grilling.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Outside, the orange glow from the large glass windows welcomed us in. The venue was busy, with every seat filled, and couples patiently waiting for the next available sitting. It's an intimate and cosy venue, but at the same time trendy and cool, with exposed brickwork, bespoke light fittings and an open kitchen, all backed up by a unique, pastel pallette. You should probably be warned that if you do get a front row seat, you will be tantalised by the meat rotisserie (which, for your information, looked nothing like my chicken donner days).
The music, made up of funky remixes of indie, dance and Turkish pop, was the perfect soundtrack for a kebab feast. In fact, they know it's good so they have a link to it on their website. I’m listening to it whilst I write this, and it’s bringing all those meaty memories back. Hip and upbeat, all part of the Bababoom package.
The Food and Drink
Apparently, the only way to start at Bababoom is with the Frozen Pomegranate and Blackcurrant Margarita. Delicious, fruity and refreshing, it was the perfect palate cleanser. It’s poured from a slush machine - yes, a slush machine. I felt like Homer Simpson in the Duff Beer factory and wanted to get my head wedged underneath it. To start on food, we went with our waiter’s recommendations of Sumac Chicken Wings and Sweet Potato Hummus. The wings were true to sticky, plump with meat and so moreish that they caused a little bit of tension between me and my boyfriend as to who would have the last one. The smooth Sweet Potato Hummus was on point too, with big, crunchy crudities accompanying it, all wrapped around by a pillow-y Persian flatbread. If you love hummus it’s a must.
Waiting for our mains, I simply had to have another Margarita Slush, however the boyfriend opted for a craft beer. When our mains arrived, the fruity tones and crisp finish of the Hire Wire Pale Ale worked perfectly against the big, meaty flavours of the kebabs. Bababoom also offer Effes (how could they not), and a well-planned choice of other craft beer favourites.
Now for the kebabs. It was tough to choose, so we decided to share the Cabrito Goat Belly Adana + Chermoula Aubergine, and the 28-day aged Short Rib & Kashaval Kofta with Za’atar tomato. Kebabs come either with a flatbread or a fattoush salad – we both went with the flatbreads as we’re bread hounds, but on a salad, they looked amazing, and I’m struggling to think of a tastier low-carb meal.
For a dish with such an un-sexy reputation, the dishes were beautifully presented on rectangular red plates, the same red as the vibrant chili pepper resting on top of the meat. It was Insta-worthy, which is a first for any kebab I’ve ever eaten. It goes without saying the flavours lived up to the presentation. The Goat Belly Adana was complex with herbs and spices, but the goat remained the big flavour, whilst the beef again, was meaty and rich and perfectly cooked. Resting between the meat and flatbread was a refreshing, shredded coleslaw of white cabbage and red onion, a perfect accompaniment to the meats, as they cut through and gave you a whack of freshness when you needed it. Our chosen add-ons of Avocado Tahini and Grilled Mastelo Cheese, were perfect little sides to try. The tahini was smooth and a perfect dip for our Dukkah fries. Mastelo cheese - the less-salty, gooier cousin of Halloumi was so tasty it’s become a new favourite of mine.
It’s not very often that such a small venue can pack such a punch. Ticking all the right boxes, Baba has certainly come booming onto London’s restaurant and casual dining scene. They’ve clearly found the perfect formula with a cool venue, delicious, exciting food, good drinks and a really friendly staff. With affordable pricing, brunch offerings and new menu additions, you can go back again, again, again and again for your kebab fix.