Even if you haven’t eaten at Babu Ji, chances are you’ll recognise the old Indian man in the photo above the door, who has come to represent the restaurant.
In Indian culture, Babu Ji means father figure; the protector of the family. In this instance it’s about who puts food on the table. Owners Mani Waraich and his cousin Ranjit Singh took over in early 2015, hoping to evoke exactly that.
Waraich grew up in a remote village outside Punjab, where his grandma taught him to cook. The menu is a tribute to her recipes, and her philosophy that sharing food brings people together. At Babu Ji the aim is to change people’s perceptions of Indian food and show it’s much more than just curry and rice.
With a mix of familiar favourites such as the butter chicken and palak paneer (homemade cheese and spinach) as well as less-common choices such as Indian nachos, gluten-free naan bread and lamb chops, ordering can be a task. Some guidance, then: the pani puri, an Indian street food classic of fired puff-pastry balls filled with mash potato and chickpeas, is a must. Ditto for the chole tikki chickpea croquettes.
In true communal spirit, you can help yourself to beers from the fridge. It holds 40 different types from all over the world. If your favourite’s not here, just request it and Waraich and Singh will do their best to get it in time for your next visit.