Just Open: Babajan, Carlton North

Middle Eastern specialist Kirsty Chiaplias at Babajan.
Middle Eastern specialist Kirsty Chiaplias at Babajan. Photo: Simon Schluter

Is it too early to call a trend on Turkish? This year we've celebrated the opening of fine diner Tulum in Balaclava, lines snake around the block for flaky pastries at Goz City in the CBD and then there's the likes of Stanbuli, a Turkish meze bar by the crew from Porteno in Sydney that's all over the glossies.

Now, Middle Eastern speciality chef Kirsty Chiaplias (ex-Workers' Food Room) brings you Babajan, a Turkish-leaning bakery and cafe that's taken over Troy Kebab Corner on Nicholson Street in Carlton North. 

Chiaplias has buddied up with chef Ismail Tosun from late-noughties Smith Street eatery Gigibaba (a low-key return after a self-imposed hiatus); you'll find them in the open kitchen turning out sesame seed pastries and a breakfast menu that leaps and bounds beyond bacon and eggs; think baklava pain perdu – ground walnut brioche soaked in a spiced creme anglaise – or an Iranian apricot and sherry parfait.

Ideal brunch spot: Babajan's baklava pain perdu.
Ideal brunch spot: Babajan's baklava pain perdu. Photo: Simon Schluter

The real stars of the show are the daily changing salads on full display on the front counter: a triangular tower of freekeh pilaf with sweet roast peppers and brisket; cannellini beans tossed with tuna, artichoke and basil or a tumble of beetroot, lentils and pumpkin with walnut tarator and tahini. 

Chiaplias and Tosun built the place from the ground up themselves, transforming a greasy kebab shop into a bright, functional space now with polished concrete floors, church pew-style banquettes and luxe custom stools from Fitzroy furniture makers Christensen and Jackson.

It's a daytime-only menu for now but they're leaning towards a couple of night shifts once a liquor licence comes through.

Open daily 7am-7pm, 713 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, 9388 9814