Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 19th - Cafe Babylon - Stale Turnips

You can smell the Babylon Cafe for four square blocks in the middle of Downtown Vancouver.  You can see the line from a few more than that.  To call it a cafe is a bit of an exaggeration except that I think they sell coffee.  It occupies a space of slightly more than 10 sq ft.  The space that is not occupied by the cooking area and the large counter, is just wide enough for patrons to shimmy along it to select their toppings.

In the UK, these are called Kebab Shops.  They specialise in Falafal Wraps, Chicken and Lamb Gyros/Kebab/Schwarma Wraps. They are insanely popular.  This type of business is so big in Germany, that there is an annual conference of several tens of thousands of shop owners get together.  I do not go that often because I miss the places in Montreal that have the big french fry sized pink-dyed pickled Turnips.  There are few places in Vancouver that have them in the condiment bar.  D said he had a craving for Falafel and talked me into it because the sign outside the Babylon Cafe had the turnips.  In the end, he got a Chicken Kebab and I got a Falafel.  The turnips ended up being stale, shavings rather than fresh fingers.  Blech.  At least they offer 3 plump Falafel balls.  Some of the guys down Granville have small dry balls and Nuba down on Davie only gives 2.

They have a fair selection of toppings and are very efficient in loading and wrapping.  They only do wraps, no plates.  They have to be efficient.  The line snakes down the block every day.  The Falafel itself had good flavour, on the dry side but held together.  The peppers, and vegetables were good but those stale Turnips were just sour note.  They did not even originally put them on. I had to ask.  Wish I had not.  D liked his Chicken.  Moist and good flavour and quite loaded.  I thought most of the meat looked over cooked, particularly the lamb.

Chicken Schwarma
 Falafel Wrap with Stale Turnips
Cost: $ (6-8 bux)
Ambiance: Ambi-what?  It is a closet.
Staff: Curt and all about the throughput. If you have a special ask, make it fast.
Location: smack dab in the middle of downtown shopping district.

Babylon Cafe
Robson Street
(604) 568-6324

Maybe a Two Maple at most. If you want lots of Chicken or Lamb, go fer it but the stale turnips left me ...well, stale. 

Babylon Cafe on Urbanspoon

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