Dips - BABA


4th December 2017 6pm


I attended the launch of BABA back at the beginning of November and was immediately excited about the place. The food was great but I wanted to put them through their paces during a normal service. Sister restaurant to the wonderful Ox and Finch in Glasgow, BABA‘s food is different in that it is inspired by the flavours of the Levant. BABA’s interiors also reflect this approach. There are lots of communal dining tables as well as smaller tables for a more intimate dinner. That coupled with a cocktail bar area, this is a place that works well for socialising in any level.

I’ll lay it out now – BABA’s dips are amazing. You should easily find something your palate will be delighted by. However, if you can’t chose, they offer a selection instead, which is exactly what we went for. We then also ordered two mains and a side, I went for the lamb shawarma and my friend chose the squid, merguez sausage and salmorejo and we ordered ptitim on the side.

The dips came out in abundance. There were eight in all, including hummus, baba ganoush, beetroot and feta, squash, butter bean, labneh with tomatoes and harissa, muhammara with chilli and walnut and goats cheese with pistachio. Along with the dips we got some grilled pitta bread to scoop up the deliciousness. They were all excellent. I think my favourites were the labneh and the muhammara but all of them were really flavoursome. I could easily see a leisurely afternoon with a few cocktails, working my way through the dips. Definitely worth experiencing.

The mains came out and smelt gorgeous. My lamb shawarma came deconstructed so you could build it how you liked. There was plenty of lamb which was nestled on harissa tomatoes, hummus and garlic tahini. The pitta pockets were warm and ready to be loaded with food. This all tasted gorgeous and there was a sense of gratification eating this dish. On the other side of the table the squid looked fabulous and the taste matched the visuals. The seafood was complemented with the spices coming from the merguez sausage. The ptitim was a little bit more lemony that I’d had last time which was the only thing that didn’t quite hit the mark but was still passable.

BABA’s staff were friendly and happy to give recommendations. It’s clear that they have tried the food and understand the flavours. BABA was a great experience and should be visited – frequently!

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 36/40

Would I eat here again? With those dips? Try to stop me!

Cost – £58 for a sharing set of dips, two mains, a side and two cocktails



26th November 2017 11am


We’d been invited by the lovely peeps at Aurora to try out their place. Newly opened in Leith, Aurora had only been open a couple of weeks when we visited but are clearly aware that their small shop front might mean people don’t realise they are there. So here I am, waving a flag for them – because the food is lush. This is not so surprising though, as the chef comes from Salt in Morningside.

Coffee - Aurora

Coffee – Aurora

We decided to visit late on a Sunday morning for brunch (they are currently open 9am-5pm 7 days a week but are trialling some evening openings). The venue is small but perfectly formed. Decked out in stripped wood and interesting decorative features, Aurora is definitely not a greasy spoon. I couldn’t resist ordering the full breakfast – although I toyed with the idea of eggs Benedict and the shakshuka – whilst my friend chose eggs royale with a coffee.

Full Breakfast - Aurora

Full Breakfast – Aurora

We saw some fellow diners’ food come past us and it got us excited. It looked amazing and we weren’t disappointed when our plates arrived. The plates somehow still managed to look clean and sharp, even with breakfasts on them. My breakfast consisted of bacon, sausage, Stornaway black pudding, eggs, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, sourdough and a smattering of rocket on top. I had asked for my eggs fried but they came poached but I was actually so glad they did as this worked better with the rest of the food and oozed golden yolk. It was clear the foodie cosmos was on my side. I couldn’t fault anything on the dish. I was most amazed by the portobello mushrooms. They had so much intensity that I could have eaten a plateful of those alone. The bacon was crispy without being overdone. The eggs, as I mentioned before, were cooked to perfection.

Eggs Royale - Aurora

Eggs Royale – Aurora

Across from me, my friend was delighted by her eggs royale. The Loch Fyne hot smoked salmon was generous in portion and tasted delicious. The poached eggs were just as good as mine has been. They were sat on top of sourdough and accompanied by wilted spinach. The hollandaise was very clever though. Laced with truffle, the sauce was sparse on the plate. My friend was a little worried there wasn’t enough but with the yolk of the egg, the dish was perfectly balanced. Licking the plate clean was discussed.

We were mightily impressed by Aurora’s offering and was reasonably priced for the quality of the food. It’s worth seeking out that small shop front for the big flavours hidden inside.

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yes as I have already got my eye on other dishes on the menu.

Cost – this meal was complimentary but would have likely cost just under £20 for a full breakfast, eggs royale and a coffee.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own. Thank you to Margherita for organising.

Hummus - Yeni


26th April 2017 12.10pm


I wanted hummus. I am not sure if it was my subconscious picking up on the supermarket hummus shortage but I wanted some lovely fresh hummus. So I wandered along to Yeni on Hanover Street for some lunch. Yeni offers Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Meze dishes. They have a pretty nifty lunchtime offer of three meze for £9.95 so I decided to order some plates from that, although the a la carte menu is also available should you feel like pushing the boat out. Whilst some of the options come with a cost supplement, everything I chose did not. So I obviously went for the hummus but also picked the anchovies and the calamari.

Hummus - Yeni

Hummus – Yeni

Not too long after, the hummus, with a side of pitta, arrived along with the anchovies. Meze, like tapas, comes out when it’s ready so the calamari took a little bit longer to arrive as it required more prep and cooking time. I dolloped a beautiful spoonful of hummus onto my plate and scooped up some with the comfortingly warm pitta. This was very good stuff. The garlic was present but not overpowering and light oil swirl added some extra moisture to make it go just that little bit further. The anchovies were a delightful surprise. Whilst they were in a lemon and herb oil, there was almost something sharp about the dressing that brought out the beauty of the oily fish. They melted deliciously on the tongue too. I had to stop myself from gobbling them all up in one go. The calamari didn’t look how I expected it. More often than not it will arrive in rings and if not, in wide rectangles. These were long strips but still had a bit of thickness to them. They came breadcrumbed and I have to say the colour (a slightly Trump-orange hue) made me worry that the calamari may be chewy inside. I was wrong – they were perfectly fine. The accompanying chilli mayo dip seemed more of a paprika heavy flavour which I think was ok but perhaps not the best match for the calamari. Perhaps this was the dish I was least enthused about.

All in all, Yeni provided a good lunch and certainly hit my hummus craving. However, it’ll actually be the anchovies I will race back for.

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere -8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Mmmmm anchovies and hummus

Cost £9.95 for the lunchtime three meze deal