BABA'S PLACE

HELLOO BABA'S PLACE!!! <3 <3 
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY HEARD OF THEM, YOU'VE BEEN KEPT IN THE DARK... BUT WE CAN HELP. 
WITH A SPIRIT OF FAMILY LOVE & COMMUNITY, BABA'S IS CHALLENGING CULTURE & CUISINE CONVENTIONS, BUILDING A FLAMING HOT NAME FOR THEMSELVES. 

DR SAT DOWN WITH THE FAMILY AT BABA'S TO CHAT ALL THINGS BEGINNINGS, ORGANIC SUCCESS, DEFYING CUISINE EXPECTATIONS, ESCAPE, OH AND OF COURSE FOOD...

HOW DID BABA’S PLACE COME ABOUT?

It started with a couple pop-ups centered around Wog culture, at our good friends Rolling penny, which went really well. So we thought we should move to a more permanent space ; at Create or Die, a barren warehouse space. A couple of mates with no relevant skills in sink building, built a sink in the warehouse, in attempt to build a kitchen so we could operate... and the rest is history.  Then Covid round 1 hit.
Then we were back and the team expanded, James came in (co-owner & chef) then Brendan king and then Johnny (chef) & Joy (Foh).Though we didn’t have a DA at this warehouse so the council eventually shut us down. It was the right time anyway, we were getting slammed every weekend and there wasn’t space for everyone. It was nuts, we may have been way over our heads. It was time for a fresh space and start at the warehouse on Sloane street. Now we are trading 3 nights a week, averaging 140 people a night, with a little less bumps in the road..

GIVEN YOUR SUCCESS, WHO IS HOLDING DOWN THE FORT..TELL ME ABOUT THE TEAM BEHIND BABA’S?

Ok so there is..
Jp, head chef and co founder!
Alex, co founder and creative director.
James, co founder and sous chef.
Joy, our restuarant manager.
Zaal, previous customer, turned brand lover and now brand director, also bar man.
Keggs & Johnny, the heart & soul of the kitchen -- talented chefs!
Altro, chefs assistant and dishie connoisseur.
+++ heaps of awesome floor staff & other kitchen members. 


TALK ME THROUGH WHAT YOU OWE YOUR SUCCESS AND GROWING COMMUNITY TOO?

It’s been pretty clear that people loved the total experience that we create at Baba’s.. Enough to spread the word to their friends. From the food that defies one specific cuisine, to the space that defies what a restaurant should look and feel like, but most importantly, I think we are doing well because we are all friends and family. The team and the people who dine with us are just a bunch of friends, which has nurtured a nice community of support. If you went through the links between everyone here it’s crazy, everyone knows someone who knew the other person.  It creates an energy in the space that you can’t fake.

WE LOVE HOW BABA’S EMULATES WHAT IT’S LIKE TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA AS A FIRST GENERATION IMMIGRANT. BEING FROM ONE ETHNIC BACKGROUND, DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN YOU ONLY EAT THEIR ASSIGNED TRADITIONAL FOOD.. REALLY IT’S A MULTICULTURAL CULINARY EXPERIENCE!

WHAT IS THE PROCESS BEHIND CREATING A COHESIVE MENU THAT, WHILE PULLING FROM MULTIPLE DIFFERENT CULTURES/CUISINES AND FLAVOURS, STILL PLEASES THE PALLET? 

We prioritise cooking with respect for the food, it’s a passionate process & so a nod to the culture involved in the dish.  Other than that not much planning goes into it! We’ve learnt the more you plan the more trouble you’re going to be in. We have to be flexible because we primarily work around what fresh produce is available. 
 

IT SEEMS THAT SOME PRESS SURROUNDING BABA’S CATEGORIZES YOU INTO ONE CUISINE.. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE BABA’S?

We often experience that reaction. People are like “Oh this is a greek restaurant, or it’s a Lebanese restaurant”. But Baba’s is all of them and none of them. I think it’s because Baba’s menu sits at an intersection between nostalgia related to an umbrella of ethnic culture & at the same time innovation.

People try to flatten culture too often and that’s why they think we are one specific cuisine. But we aren’t trying to replicate any particular cuisine, we are pulling from multiple traditions and creating a contemporary dish to reflect the multicultural way people eat across Sydney.


A KEY LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT SO FAR IN THE FOOD BIZ?

That you can’t speak for everyone. That to successfully collaborate in a team you have to listen. To respect the process of collaboration. None of this would've come off the ground if it wasn’t for collaboration between multiple different minds.


A LOT OF YOUR CUSTOMERS SAY BABA’S BREEDS A FAMILY FEELING, A PLACE TO CREATE MEMORIES WITH WARM PEOPLE AND FOOD....  WHAT IS A FOND MEMORY FOR THE FAMILY AT BABA’S? 

One night, towards the end of service, table 7 started got up after their feast and started dancing, they were salsa dancing in the middle of the floor, then table 5 joined them too. Everyone was doing the napkin twirl. 


FAVOURITE DISH ON THE MENU ? 

Keggs: It's so fun to make the taramasalata.
Joy: The pavlova with the marscapone/labne mix ; the culture in the labne, comes from the north of Lebanon, so it tastes sensational.
James: The lamb, it has a nice fat cap.
Altro: The signature; bolognese.
Johnny: The bolognese is delish to eat but difficult to make, I have a sore shoulder!
Jp: I’m close to all the dishes, so it’s hard to detach and see them for what they are.. If I had to say though, it would be the pan fried noodles.
Zaal: The kolbas kozinjak.

WHAT IS BABA’S END SERVICE RITUAL?

Altro likes to pump up the team by occasionally preaching “letss gooo” in the kitchen. But more generally, we like to play a lot of music, loud, usually King Krule and we all kinda jam. 


WHAT DOES ESCAPE FEEL LIKE?

Keggs: Any open outdoor space, like looking out to a body of water.
Jp : If I’m having a big night at work, I'll go out the back and smell the diesel and charcoal. It reminds me of my grandmas outdoor kitchen laundry in Lebanon and it transports me there.
Alex: A book. Lol Nietchze.
James: Kuringi national park, hiking.
Zaal: Travel to anywhere rural, I love waking up in a different place to the smell of people lighting up barbeques' in the air .
Joy: Escape for me is Mykonos, give me quad bikes, island, music, drinks and smiles! 
Altro: At the end of service, going out the back in the alley and having a moment to myself to breath and stand in the cool breeze.
Johny: Watching a nice artist perform live.


BABA’S DREAM COLLAB?

King Krule. If we could collab with anyone in the world, we’d love to have king krule come and perform in the restaurant.


WHAT IS OVER THE 2022 RAINBOUU FOR BABA’S? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS WE CAN KNOW ABOUT?

Expect a lot more events, live music, more community collab driven things, and not just in our space but elsewhere.


& LASTLY, WHO DO YOU THINK OR WHAT BUSINESS DO YOU THINK IS DOING THE MOST EXCITING STUFF IN SYDNEY RIGHT NOW ?

Huberts, the best. You walk into that place and you get transported. They inspire us. Hope street in Melbourne. They have an inspiring music infused model.

Also, our local bakeries & restaurants in Greenacre and Bankstown are always inspiring because of their commitment to high quality.
Tagged with: Eats

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