The gold lettering on Babaji’s plate glass window reads “Istanbul Pide Salonu.” Pide, the Turkish version of pizza, is produced to order in the vast stone oven that dominates the gorgeously decorated ground floor, and is served by waiters in wide flowing harem-style trousers. The pide is crisp and puffy, long rather than circular, and comes with toppings like ground lamb mince, seafood, beef pastrami, or egg mixed with feta and herbs.
The ground floor is the best place to eat if you’re looking for pide, so that it can be handed to you fresh from the oven. If you prefer more space at Babaji, choose the dining area on the first floor, where you can enjoy some signature Turkish cuisine, to the accompaniment of plangent violin music. Popular dishes include lamb stew with aubergine purée, chilli-dressed fried squid with walnut and yogurt sauce, and especially the Topkapi chicken stuffed with pine-nut pilaf.
There is a wine list – of good Turkish wines. But it’s well worth trying the intriguing selection of non-alcoholic drinks, such as the very moreish cherry iced tea.
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