Carlton North's Babajan Eatery has become a local go-to over the past two years, and the cafe has even been given an international nod by The New York Times. Now, the Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurant is opening for weekend dinner service, too.
Friday and Saturday will see the cafe reopen from 6pm with both a la carte and set menu options. The latter will cost just $40 per person and centres on barbecued dishes — think 12-hour braised lamb shoulder and crispy skinned snapper with tomato, kalamata olives and tahini.
If you opt for a la carte, there's also the pickled and barbecued octopus ($15) and lamb kofte ($24) on mains. Or guests can go for small shared dishes, including barbecued sucuk (spicy dried sausage) and shaved pastrami snacks ($6 each), plus Turkish bread and olives ($8); or small plates like the pan-fried keflagraviera (hard Greek cheese) and oven-baked eggplant with garlic yoghurt ($14 each).
To accompany your meal, Babajan offers booze from 11am each day. The drinks menu includes local and European wines by the glass and bottle, locally brewed beer from Moon Dog and Two Birds and a range of middle eastern-themed cocktails for $16 a piece — from the Lady Sultan (Turkish raki liquor, black raspberry liqueur, ruby red grapefruit, blueberry and rose) to the Grand Bazaar (gin, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, ginger and lime).
Of course, the brekkie everyone loves is still available, with a focus on Turkish pastries and egg dishes like the baked eggs with pistachio dukkah ($22), and the crab and halloumi omelette ($26). The cafe slings Brunswick's Code Black coffees and a specially-made tea blend from Tea Drop, too.
Images: Ben Christensen.