Babajan, Carlton North

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MELBOURNE | Babajan is a Carlton North cafe that offers a very simple proposition. Delicious contemporary Turkish and Middle Eastern food cooked with passion. Owner/chefs Kirsty Chiaplias and Ismail Tosun (ex Gigibaba) opened Babajan in mid-2016, as a breakfast and lunch affair but it’s since expanded to include a dinner option on Friday and Saturday nights.

The space, once home to Troy Kebab Corner, is tiny, with room for about 30 people inside and a further 10 on the tables outside. It’s simple and light filled, with lots of light coloured wood furnishings. A bakery counter and register occupies one end of the venue, and next to this is the pass – the kitchen isn’t open but you can peek through and see what’s going on behind the pass.

Tosun has since left Babajan, but his Turkish background combined with Chiaplias’ fine dining background is evident throughout the menu. Flavours are authentic and rustic, and little touches elevate each dish. As much as possible is made on site – things like the mince, hummus, pide, and spices are all made from scratch. The result is a freshness and brightness in every bite.

Rose, cardamom, and mastic rice pudding with “Senserrick” poached plum, strawberries and raspberries is a delight. Nothing is overpowering and all of the flavours and textures blend wonderfully. Equally delicious and light is the crab and halloumi omelette, dressed with cucumber, avocado, radicchio and kefalograviera. For something meatier, you can’t go past any of the lamb dishes, be it the delicious Gaziantep-style lahmacun of ground lamb, onion, tomato, parsley & chilli, or the Eggplant Aleppo Turkish cheese toastie with fried eggs, fermented chilli and sumac onions (the lamb on the toastie is listed as optional, but it really takes an already amazing thing up a notch).

A lot of the menu is available to take away, especially when it comes to the bakery counter. Here you can find an assortment of treats like haloumi pie, sukuk pide, and a rotating selection of borek, pastries and cakes. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong.

It’s always refreshing to discover a place like Babajan in Melbourne’s crowded, hype-driven food scene. There’s no trend here, no desire to blow up on Instagram, no plan to become the next big thing. Babajan is simply about someone doing what they love, and doing it well. Carlton North locals know how great it is, and anyone not from the neighbourhood that ventures here will wish this was one of their locals too.

Babajan

713 Nicholson Street
Carlton North
Victoria 3054
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9388 9814
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Sun – Thu: 11:30am to 3:00pm; 4:30pm to 9:30pm
Fri – Sat: 11:30am to 3:00pm; 4:30pm to 10:00pm

Babajan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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