BaBi’s Bistro – Restaurant Review
By Mistre Tekaligne, October 01, 2019
From the ritzy part of Addis originates a place for everyone – Babi’s Bistro. Located at the heart of Bisrate Gabriel, west of Addis Ababa, Babi’s offers a wide selection of food and drinks in its cozy setting.
Walking in, the first thing you find is the bar on the right, with its beautiful wooden display. In front of the bar is the restaurant’s outdoor-turned-indoor main serving area. This whole area has a warm earthy feel to it with wooden booths, upholstered stools, low hanging light fixtures and yellow string lights on the far left. The indoor portion of the bistro, in contrast, is not as thoughtfully designed, but still had a comfortable and homey atmosphere that defined the outdoor and set the tone.
We started our dining journey with a round of cocktails. We sampled their Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Strawberry Mojito and a limey twist of a Screwdriver that they ironically named “High IQ”. The cocktails were almost exclusively vodka-based, and although they tasted satisfactory, the lack of variety and authenticity would garner scrutiny from seasoned cocktail aficionados. Recognizing this, the restaurant is recreating the cocktail menu for a better variety, going as far as adding a local touch with a Tej based cocktail.
The food menu offered a wide selection of Mexican, American, Italian and Ethiopian food. The main sections of the menu often include a house special option that contains a bit of everything in the section.
We placed our orders for beef nachos, beef enchiladas, Babi’s mixed grill, Babi’s special burger, and Babi’s special snack, and proceeded to help ourselves to the starter salad buffet which had an assortment of especially fresh vegetables, mustard vinaigrette, and hummus. The food was served with great attention paid to the presentation and if it tasted as good as it smelled, we all knew we were in for a delectable evening.
The Beef nachos were made with corn tortillas, minced beef, onions and tomatoes, and home-made provolone cheese-sauce. Although it tasted delicious and made for a great snack, the lack of certain ingredients like refried beans and taco seasoning, made the dish taste different than authentic Mexican nachos.
The Beef Enchilada was served in two pieces with a home-made mayonnaise dip and ketchup. It tasted brilliant with a fusion of herbs, a savory tomato sauce, cheese, and flavorful minced beef.
Babi’s mixed grill was served on a large plate and had grilled beef, grilled chicken, grilled fish with a side of lightly grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes and fries along with gravy and a tomato-based dipping sauce. The entire dish came together rather scrumptiously – with tender beef, Smokey chicken, garlicky fish, lightly charred fresh vegetables and crispy, salty fries. The only thing not up to par was the mashed potatoes, which lacked the seasoning and was a bit bland to the taste.
Babi’s special burger was an absolute delight. The dining experience is only complete if you begin by cutting the burger in half and watching the juicy goodness spread out. Each bite had a perfect combination of the well-seasoned and juicy patty, provolone cheese, pickles, fresh tomatoes and lettuce.
The star dish of the evening was the special snack, which comprised buffalo chicken wings, garlic-lime chicken wings with onion rings and cheesy fries for sides. Every item on the plate was finger-licking good. The buffalo wings were slightly sweet yet spicy, the garlic lime chicken was crisp, the deep-fried onion rings were thick and tasty, and the cheesy fries complimented the spiciness of the chicken.
Although we were getting close to a food coma, we put our faith in the old saying, “there is always room for dessert,” and ordered ourselves warm chocolate cake, served in a soup bowl with a side of home-made caramel for added sweetness. The cake was moist and smooth, which was the cherry on top we needed to wrap up our great feast.
Babi’s is a comfortable environment all sorts of customers can enjoy. Offering fast Wi-fi, Babi’s is a quiet place to get a bit of work done. The lighting and warm atmosphere make it a great choice for a date. The free, laid-back and chilled out vibe makes it great to hang out with friends over some beer or a few cocktails.
The cutest thing about the bistro, however, is that they attach motivational and inspiring quotes with your receipt to spread a joyful spirit. Ours read, “One kind word can change someone’s entire day.” It is this emotional intelligence, coupled with impeccable service, a disarming atmosphere and amazing food that makes you fall in love with this place.