The story behind Babagoosh, a newly opened Turkish restaurant in town, is inspirational, to say the least. Babagoosh was a famous chef in the 14th century Constantinople and he was appointed the Grand Chef at the Topkapi Palace where he served the royalty with traditional Turkish cuisine for 60 long years. It is said that no one who came after him came even close to Babagoosh in his irresistible recipes.
“This untold story is the secret behind our scrumptious menu and we take pride in recreating the 700-year-old Turkish recipes at the restaurant,” says Shahid Arif, the man responsible for bringing Babagoosh to Lahore.
Arif reveals that he together with his three “foodie” partners is coming in from Europe where these four young lads run their individual doner outlets quite successfully.
According to Arif, doner kebab has captured the imagination of the goras also. “The food market has seen a mighty shift from fast food burgers to this concept.”
The restaurant in Gulberg, already billed as the ‘with-it’ eatery, has a 100-plus seating capacity. The unmistakable Turkish stamp in an artistically done interior and décor, with luminous lamps hanging from the ceiling and a unique red, blue and white theme reflects the idea of a place ready to let the customers in.
The Turkish lounge upstairs has an arresting view of the Mini Market roundabout which is dotted with little, big eateries and a busy traffic.
For the uninitiated, Doner Kebab is a conventional Turkish delicacy cooked over a vertical rotisserie, usually made of beef, lamb and chicken. At Babagoosh, Veggie Doner, also called Falafel, is also offered, along with delicious sides and drinks.
The owners are hopeful that Lahore will gladly embrace yet another doner outlet, at a time Nisa Sultan and German Doner are doing fairly well. They believe that there is a huge potential for this food, provided it is done to the customer’s satisfaction.
“We have studied the market closely,” claims Shahid Arif. “What we’re offering is value-for-money.”
We started off with lamb doner, enclosed in Durum bread which is wafer-thin and melts right in the mouth. With just the right amount of spices it was not overpowering but quite fulfilling, light and didn’t feel heavy on the stomach.
The succulent pieces of lamb had been processed and spiced that gave it a mild flavour. An option of Pita and Turkish bread was also available for those who wanted to try these two wraps.
The Babagoosh’s version of Turkish burgers as platters, with a side choice between rice and fries, is also on offer.
Next, we had the regular fattoush, hummus, kebbah, tabouleh in one category — priced at Rs200. Buklawa was the only dessert mentioned on the menu card so we washed it all down with Turkish Qehwa.