Cafe Baba is sitting on some prime late night real estate, located right in the heart of the party jungle that is Courtenay Place. It is just one stumble away from any number of clubs, and is thus the first vendor on hand to see to that incomparable hunger which strikes after a big night out, and can only be satiated by the king of intoxicated cravings; the mighty kebab. It can be smelt before it’s seen with a (seemingly) permanent group sitting outside sucking on a shisha pipe, watching any number of sorry-looking drunks trudge the golden mile under their noses.
Passing these shisha-puffing patrons and entering the establishment, if you are lucky you will be served by a delightful man (name unknown) who called me “darling” in his Turkish brogue, and set about making me a specialty kebab, chatting the entire time, making sure I was happy waiting, cracking jokes, and generally just providing some of the best service I’ve come across. I’d have said that he alone was worth visiting the place, but that was before I tried their food.
I’d decided to branch out from my standard kebab, and was not too far gone to be able to handle the qualms of rice-eating so ordered the chicken iskender ($15). This was enormous, flavoursome, included every extra that I could ever have thought of, had a generous sauce ratio and the meat was tender, juicy and delicious. Even if I’d not been gripped with the curse of post-party hunger, this meal would absolutely have hit the spot and is well worth a try.
It’s a humble place; nothing flashy or too presumptuous, but the service and the food (plus its proximity to da clubs) make Café Baba royalty among Wellington’s kebab vendors. Making their imperial acquaintance is a must.