Review: Villa Babak at The Souk, Avenues
Villa Babak at The Souk
Last evening I was invited over at Villa Babak at The Souk in Grand Avenues. Villa Babak is an Arabic joint, serving primarily grills like tikka, kebabs, dips and sweets. It took a bit of an effort to locate the joint within the labyrinth of the Souk as there are hardly any markings for any of the joints. Villa Babak is nestled in one of the by lanes, and you will have to ask for directions if its your first time visiting.
Now given the space within the Souk, Villa Babak is actually quite spacious, and is beautifully appointed with enough seating spaces, and typical Arabian interiors. They actually have a small sweet shop within the restaurant where you can pick up some lovely local and other Arabic sweets on the go.
As I settled in and absorbed the ambient Arabic deco, and sound of water falling of the lovely fountain, and somberly lit surroundings, I almost forgot that I was in the closed environment of The Avenues. They have also managed to fit in a fresh bread making clay oven within the joint, which instead of giving coughing fumes, gives a fantastic aroma of bread and much needed warmth in the freezing cold.
Villa Babak, clay oven
With all that lovely aromas hanging around like an enchantress, the next thing on the agenda was obviously food. Flipping through the beautiful menu, I narrowed down my choices to Borhani Spinach dip, Fresh salad, Mixed grill with rice, my favorite Lemon Mint drink, and to top it off with Faluda in dessert. Bread is obviously served complimentary with the order.
I actually wanted to try out the Haleem in the starters, but I guess that would have been too much, but I am oh so glad to have picked up the Borhani Spinach dip. It’s something in between Hummous, Baba Ganoush, and Spinach salad all mixed together with topings of walnuts. Just a perfect blend of spices and texture, and an absolute delight, and a complete replacement for regular dips. Complemented with fresh, supple bread seasoned with sesame seeds.
Villa Babak, mixed grill
Next in was the mixed grill. I’ve to admit this here, one bite into the meats, and I knew hands down that this had to be the best ever kebab and tikka I’ve ever had anywhere so far. The perfection was in the preparation, the crisp smokey flavors, the right amount of spices, the tenderness of meats, the minimal use of oil, and the saffron flavored buttered rice as an accompaniment. I’m glad now that I’ve found a joint where I can drop by to relish Arabic food, a good replacement for the age old ones around the market.
Villa Babak Faluda
For the dessert I asked for the Faluda, and well to tell you the truth was expecting something similar on the lines of Indian Falooda, but this one turned out to be a drier version of the Falooda, and more sweetened one. They offered two flavors, one with rose water and another with saffron, I picked up the saffron one. Cold, crisp, and very sweet, great for sweet lovers, but I had to stop after a few swigs.
Overall impression, I’m in love with this joint, not just because of the fab food, but also location, ambiance, and such friendly staff, all added in the mix. They are very reasonably priced as well. Definitely give it a shot over the week end, they open from 11am till 11pm, and are open for lunch and dinner. Oh and they might soon offer breakfast over the weekend, as per the rumors
Here are some more pics from the last evening: