Octopus, Venison and Nduja: We Review BAB’s Surprising New Menu

BAB has freshened up its menu and they are certainly keeping us on our toes with the new dishes.

We went down last week to check out the new dishes, which were full of unusual ingredients.

We kicked things off with a few starters. I was surprised to find the Venison Kofta (£6) on the menu, but I am sure glad it was there. I absolutely LOVE game, and I love it even more when chefs are unafraid to take it out of its natural habitat (so to speak).

The minced venison was treated how lamb would be in Greek or Turkish cuisine and mixed with aromatic herbs and spices before being shaped and cooked over a grill. To put it bluntly, it was bloody delicious.

The koftas came paired with yummy sweet chilli and Vimto dipping sauce which on first glance, sounds totally mental, but let me tell you… it was genius.

Anyone who has eaten venison before will know that it is most comfortable with sweet things to undercut the gamey flavour – so this was an ideal pairing which ticked all the boxes and somehow still managed to give a cheeky nod to Manchester, in true BAB style.

Next up was a plate of Roasted Tiger Prawns (£6.50) which has quickly made it to the top of my list of the most scrumptious things I have ever eaten. Served on a thick slice of sourdough, these gargantuan prawns were juicy, crunchy and fresh.

There was a generous scattering or warm nduja sausage on top which was an excellent contrast to the prawns. It also gave of its sumptuous, salty oil which was absorbed into the bread with delicious results.

Moving on swiftly to the BAB’s we kicked things off with the Tandoori Cauliflower (£9) which was a delicious, filling and inspired vegan choice. It takes a homemade flatbread and tops it with blackened tandoori cauliflower AND cauliflower pakora which brought two exquisite textures to the kebab.

It was finished some lip-puckering lime pickle, coriander, mint and some poppadums for a welcome bit of crunch. As far as vegan food goes, this has to really be up there and I certainly enjoyed the Indian-Turkish crossover.

Next was the Lamb Shawarma (£10) which is a BAB take on a classic. I’m sure when most people go and get a kebab (a real one that is and not a 2 am drunken escapade) they will look to order lamb shawarma. What’s not to love about slow cooked lamb so tender it falls apart and melts in the mouth? Nothing. Nothing at all.

This means that BAB has some big shoes to fill, but I can gladly tell you they managed it. The lamb was spiced and juicy, fatty and crispy all at once and topped off with their delicious Turkish brown sauce and pickled turnip. If you ask me, this shawarma was a beautiful homage to the history of real kebabs which was nice to see.

I have already made a big fuss of the Harissa Octopus Kebab (£11) and dubbed it ‘Manchester’s Weirdest Kebab’, but I want to talk about it again.

The Harissa Octopus kebab is one of the nicest things I have EVER eaten. No really, it is. The octopus itself was beautifully charred and incredibly tender which is a difficult task for a chef. I also love fish, so finding an option like this on a menu (especially as a kebab) was nothing less than inspired.

Barbequed baby gem, pickled samphire and preserved lemon aioli were the accoutrements to this BAB, and they all worked really well. Sure, the whole thing was a bold choice, but I think it has really landed in this dish and it supports BAB’s gourmet kebab ‘worth sitting down for’ ethos down to a tee.

The new dishes on the BAB menu are, in short, awesome. No longer are kebabs something to be ashamed of eating- they are a modern, stylish and culturally diverse meal that is eaten in a fun relaxed setting.

I love BAB’s ‘no holds barred’ approach to ingredients, and I love it even more how the chefs manage to bend and adapt them to create kebabs which just…work. You don’t know how, but they just do. Foodies and kebab aficionados alike are going to fall head over heels for BAB and if their fresh crop of dishes doesn’t prove it, nothing will.

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BAB, Little Lever St, Manchester M1 1HR
0161 806 0813

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