BRIDGE Street.

It’s fair to say it hasn’t always been the most salubrious of places.

And Hancock and Woods brekkie aside, a few years ago it probably wouldn’t have been anyone’s first port of call for a sit down dining experience.

But fast forward to 2022 and the bottom end of Bridge Street is now becoming more than just a hotspot for late night revellers.

So six months since Babba’s opened its doors to customers in the former JJB store we paid a midweek visit to see how it has fared since its initial launch.

Described as a ‘proper Turkish restaurant’, the interior décor is more modern than Middle East, with a large dining area, on trend lighting, stylish seating and herringbone wooden flooring. There’s also an open kitchen, so the tantalising aroma of chargrilled meat and Mediterranean flavours hit you as soon as you walk in.

The Bridge Street outlook is slightly less charming, and for a people watcher like me, spying a man attempting to use a bin down the road as a urinal may have been somewhat off putting were it not for the warm and friendly atmosphere within the restaurant itself.

Having previously visited on a weekend night, we didn’t experience any difference in the level of service, with waiting staff attentive but not overbearing on both occasions.

Food-wise, the menu is extensive for meat lovers, somewhat less so for vegans, and in true Turkish fashion lamb and chicken dishes take prominence here.

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Spoilt for choice but not wanting to overdo the midweek calories, we chose a selection of cold starters to share, with mixed olives (£3.90) plus portions of tzatziki and creamy hummus (£4.90 each) – served alongside lovely homemade bread – enough to take the edge of our post work hunger.

I’m a sucker for a lamb chop however, so marinated chops cooked on the charcoal grill were an obvious main choice. At £19.50 this wasn’t the cheapest option on the menu, but comprising four large cuts of lamb, it was a very generous, tasty and well seasoned portion. So much so I had to abandon the usual restaurant dining etiquette and pick them up with my fingers to ensure every last morsel was removed.

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My accompanying friends opted for the moussaka (layers of minced lamb, aubergine, potato and courgette layered with bechamel sauce and cheese - £15.50) and the chicken shish (marinated chicken cubes marinated in a pepper paste and herbs - £17.50). Described by one as ‘a proper taste of the Middle East’, the moussaka hit the spot albeit the volume of cheese used did slightly outweigh the other elements in the dish.

The majority of main courses come served with salad and rice, but there are extra side options including chips and potato wedges on the menu if required, as well as several pizza and pasta as alternative to the traditional Turkish mains.

And for those looking for a showstopper, it’s well worth checking out the Babba’s special. Comprising a variety of different cuts of meat – from lamb ribs to chicken wings – it is served in a vast ottoman dish and topped with Turkish bread. At an eye watering £98, it may seem like an extravagance, but it’s capable of serving at least four people, possibly even more, and is perfect for a special occasion.

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If you’ve still got room after that (unlikely), the lemon cheesecake dessert is highly recommended.

Babba’s is a very welcome addition to the town centre and if you haven’t ventured down Bridge Street for some time, take the time to check it out as you will be pleasantly surprised.

This is an independent food review for the Warrington Guardian and no payment was received for it


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