As the latest offering from Glasgow favourite, Ox and Finch, BABA had a lot to live up to; however, it more than matches the family name. Bedecked in coloured tapestries, with moody lighting and heady scents coming from the open plan charcoal grill, it’s our own spot of the Levant in Edinburgh.
The mezze-style menu is designed for sharing, so only visit with a trusted friend – or a slow-handed one. No Middle Eastern meal is complete without hummus, so we started off with the earthy beetroot version, which was well matched by sharp whipped feta, while hazelnut dukkah added some welcome crunch. Feta and hazelnuts reappear on the venison carpaccio, brightening up the rich gamey meat nicely. Completing our cheese trio was the beiruti burrata, the creamy cheese well enhanced by a scattering of spices.
The stand out dish from the grill was the squid with spicy merguez sausage, but make sure you nab the crispy curl of tentacles on top – it’s the ultimate treat. The chuck-eye steak was a perfect pink, and the vibrant red pepper ketchup made this the only time when one could be forgiven for topping steak with ketchup. Charred carrots with cumin rounded things off, the sweetness brought to life by another sprinkling of feta.
The panna cotta-style vanilla and cardamom muhallabieh was a delightful ending, the tart pink rhubarb cutting through the rich dairy beautifully.
Already the new it-place of the capital, surrender yourself to BABA: it’s more than worth the hype.
130 George Street
Edinburgh, EH2 4JZ
Words: Chiara Margiotta