Bab Tooma - Authentic Middle Eastern Restaurant in The UK

in tasteem •  last month 

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I’m really not sure how many restaurant reviews I’ve written since competing regularly in the @foodfightfriday kitchen. Then, just last week, I was introduced to @tasteem—a dapp dedicated to restaurant reviews with several weekly contests and prizes like this one called Your Weekly Choice. Thank you, @anggreklestari! On that note, I hope you’re hungry #food lovers, here comes my first ever restaurant review using tasteem.io—it’s a Middle Eastern restaurant in The UK called...

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Bab Tooma is located at 18 Wilton Street, Bradford, England—West Yorkshire, BD50AX. iheart Mediterranean food—“guilty!” Check out this spread the lovely @puravidaville and I enjoyed the other night:

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We’re all familiar with restaurants that serve chips and salsa or bread, biscuits, etc. something to munch on while you await your entrée, right? At Bab Tooma, they serve you a bowl of hot lentil soup and, like each item on the dinner menu, the recipe is a family original passed down from generation to generation—lentil soup:

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Falafel—ground, rolled, gluten free chickpeas, seasoned and deep fried to perfection served with shredded lettuce, sliced pickles, and a side of tzatziki:

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Did I mention how delicious everything smells inside the restaurant? The open kitchen is separated from the dining area by a charcoal grill and, as the chef continues grilling, flipping and glazing various skewers and kebobs, the aroma is definitely worth noting—the kitchen view from our table:

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Grilled vegetable skewer—mixed bell peppers, zucchini, onion, mushroom and tomato with a pomegranate glaze. Green beans seasoned just right and served chilled rather than hot like I’m accustom to—they paired nicely with the grilled vegetables:

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Mujaddara—arguably my favorite dish of the evening. It was my first time ordering mujaddara but definitely won’t be the last. The dish consists of cooked lentils together with rice and vermicelli, garnished with crispy, sautéed onions, served with sliced pickles, a spicy red pepper sauce and a citrusy yogurt.

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We also enjoyed a fattoush salad. Although I didn’t get a close-up of it, it’s pictured in the center of the table I showed you for our main spread—the fattoush salad is served with radishes, cucumber, olives, tomato and mint, chopped and mixed together, with crispy flat bread and romaine lettuce. This particular fattoush is topped with a layer of pomegranate seeds. Also, I told you the majuddara was ‘arguably my favorite dish’ because it’s a tough decision between it and this red dipping sauce we used to dip our falafel and pita bread in called muhammara—delicious! It’s a spicy red purée made with grilled red and green peppers crushed with tahini, bread crumbs, almonds, and garlic—muhammara and fattoush salad:

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Right about the time we finished gorging ourselves, leaving nothing on the table, is when the music began playing. Authentic Arabic music is performed on Sunday and Monday nights, beginning at 19:00, sung through a nice PA and played on a lute—a 12 string instrument comparable to a guitar or banjo.

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What’s an evening of delicious Middle Eastern cuisine while listening to authentic Arabic music without a fresh kettle of hot, Arabic tea flavored nicely with mint and cardamom? Cheers!

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And you know what? Although this restaurant review could be finished about now, it’s not, those of you who are only interested in the food review, this is your queue to sign off, I hope you enjoyed this article—I give Bab Tooma five stars and it’s number one on my recommendation list if you’re in the West Yorkshire area of England—enjoy! However, for those of you interested in my favorite part, the part I didn’t anticipate, don’t go anywhere, this is when the evening got particularly interesting. Aannnnd...

”Action!”

As we sipped our hot tea and listened to the gentleman singing “hymns and haw’s” while plucking the lute, Qusay, the owner of the restaurant, approached our table and asked if we’d mind if he joined us. We said “absolutely not—please do!” He pulled up a chair.

The young 32 year old Syrian native migrated to England seeking refuge seven years ago at age 25, all by himself, with nothing but an old Nokia flip phone, the clothes on his back, a small amount of cash given to him by his older brother, and a student visa—he didn’t have internet or navigation or anything. He explained how he walked in circles upon exiting the plane in England, having studied English in school but understandably vague to the language and no smart phone to guide him to the university. Once finally locating the school, he was assigned housing, put the pen to paper and didn’t lift his eyes from the text book as he attended school up to eight hours a day, five days a week, until he graduated with a masters in business all while working an eight hour shift at a local petrol station where he started as a cashier and worked his way into management. I found this picture of Qusay on Tripadvsior—that’s him on the right with his business partner, Eyad, the gentleman in the middle.

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I asked him what Bab Tooma meant, whether or not it was Arabic and how it translates to English. His restaurant, Bab Tooma, is named after Babtouma or, Bab Tuma, which is named after Saint Thomas the Apostle, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, is a city located just outside Demascus, the capitol of Syria.

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He hung out with us for quite awhile, the three of us learned quite a bit from each other in the three hours Pura and I spent there. He helped us understand why all of the conflict, death and carnage, in the name of religion, is currently taking place in his home country where he hopes to be able to return some day having not seen his family going on eight years though he speaks to his mother on the phone, at minimum, once every day and hasn’t missed a day of conversation with her since arriving in England in 2012. We, in turn, described what it’s like growing up in The United States, myself in the Los Angeles area and my wife in San Francisco. What a difference in comparison, “worlds apart” is an understatement—he’s equally fascinated by our knowledge and idea of ‘normal’ as we are his. It never fails—once Pura and I divulge to people we’re having conversation with that we’re from California we can instantly see the wheels begin turning in their mind.

Before the night was over, he offered to tour both Pura and myself around the surrounding area so we can get a perspective of North Yorkshire from a ‘locals’ point of view and even offered to take us to an outlet mall with affordable department stores 30 miles away—we’re doing that tomorrow. Neither she or I have adequate attire for this sub 60 degree weather they call “summer.”

Just before we left and, prior to walking out the door, he got my attention one last time to ask me if I like baklava. I told him I’m not much of a dessert eater but Pura is to which he responded, “wait here, let me bring each of you a piece—it’s the best baklava you’ll ever have in your #life.” Who can say no to that, right?! “Deal!” We sat back down and, well, along with our entire conversation that evening, he was genuine when he said the best—the best baklava I’ve ever had in my life made with filo dough, honey, ground pistachios and whatever other heavenly goodness they put in there:

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Those of you in the West Yorkshire area of England or, if you’re planning on visiting here some time, don’t forget to make a trip to Bradford. Stop by Bab Tooma and prepare to have a meal so delicious you end up #writing a novel-sized article about it on Tasteem.

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Restaurant Information


Bab Tooma
score
18 Wilton St, Bradford BD5 0BQ, UK


Bab Tooma - Authentic Middle Eastern Restaurant in The UK
This post participated in the Tasteem contest Your weekly choice


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Congrats for your first great review on Tasteem.

Anyway, how about your fff tag? You can keep on your post. Maybe you forget it?

Thanks for sharing with Tasteem. Keep up the good review.
🍴🍴🍴

#tasteem-curation

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Good morning from The UK @anggreklestari, I’m glad you made it by here, thanks again for the introduction—I think I found a new playground. 👍🏿

About the #fff tag, oh don’t you worry about that. I released this review on a Thursday and still have a contender lined up to make a mess at #fff later on today—see you there, chef!

Thanks for stopping by @anggreklestari.

This is a great review of an even greater restaurant. I don’t think we can adequately convey how good we think the food is. People just NEED to go try it for themselves. The cherry on top is the backstory to the restaurant. Qusay might be one of the coolest people we’ve met on our travels thus far. Great job @dandays. I think you did this justice, for sure. Muah muah all over your face!

Did you know I know I’m the luckiest guy I know? We can learn a lot from Qusay—already have. For a young dude, he’s faced enough adversity that makes him wiser than your typical 32 year old.

Ain’t no one as cool as you though. I’m glad you think I did his joint justice, I had a good time putting this one together, I think I found a new playground with tasteem.io. 👍🏿 Muah!

iheartu all the time beautifulest.

Heart back handsomest 😘


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Ya’all are the best! It’s always nice to see you guys, thank you! And thank you for mentioning my article—that was a pleasant surprise to wake up to this morning.

Thanks for stopping by @c-squared.

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Thank you for entering our <Your weekly choice > Contest . Thanks to @dandays, Tasteem has become a more attractive guide. We upvote your post, wish you the best of luck in winning our Contest!

My pleasure! I think I found a new playground—thanks for having me.

Thanks for stopping by @tasteem.

Wow, what a neat experience @dandays! I looooove Middle Eastern food (were the falafels as good as Pura's?) The food looks amazing and when you popped out the baklava, oh my... I'm starving over here, lol Sounds like you made a new friend, it will be so fun to learn the "local" side of the town. So glad to hear you're having a great time! Nice review!

Good morning Mrs. Bird! :insert birds are chirping here: <— no way!! Can you believe I found that?! That’s the coolest link I’ve attached all day, ok.... where was I? 🤔

That’s right, trying not to injure myself by patting myself on the back—eh, but that is the coolest link I’ve attached all day! “Ok, where was I?” 🤔

I’m glad you got to see this one, I’m glad you liked it—thank you! You know how much I/we appreciate your support, right?! Ok.. just making sure. 😉 We’re Middle Eastern food junkies, too, Birds—“guilty!” The people in England, let me tell you, I can’t say enough good things about the people here. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. Qusay is a gem! Thank you so much for being interested in our adventures—I promise to keep trying to surprise you. 👍🏿

Thanks for stopping by @birdsinparadise.

Hello @dandays, how are you doing? It's interesting to read your posts about your holiday in the UK and I really enjoyed it. The Middle Eastern restaurant that you visit looks very clean and comfortable. The menus look so delicious. You make my saliva drip, friend. and the story of the struggle of the life of the Syrian youth also inspired me greatly. I am very impressed with your writing, sir. Enjoy your day.

I am very impressed by your writing, sir.

Oh yeah? Well I’m equally impressed by each of your genuine responses—I appreciate all of your support. I can’t type “Thank You” big enough. I always look forward to what you have to say.

Yes, the young man’s story was the icing on the cake, so to speak. He’s such a cool person, we were already sold by the quality of his food as both my wife and I are HUGE fans of Middle Eastern food but the personable level and interaction we got was the best part.

Thanks for stopping by @elianaelisma and thank you for the kind words—we’ll chat again soon!

A strange and intimate review @dandays 😉 something really worth to read rather thsn other review I ever read on tasteem 😊 I will do anything to have that baklava (your share... becoz you said you're not do into dessert.. and I won't touch pura's😆).

Amazing... great food, nice accompany and well.. cool bonuses 😉 a free tour guide😁😀 wondering how you emptied all the plates in 3 hours 👏👏👏👏

You are the Best 👍👍👍

You know I love it when you stop by, right, cici? When I don’t hear from you for awhile, this platform’s just not the same. Happy Friday! I’m glad you got to check this article out and thank you for the kind words.

I would like nothing more than to be the outsider as you enjoy my share of baklava, alongside Pura, I just want a picture—that one would be priceless. Here’s to hope! In the meantime, we’ll take your virtual company any day!

All of that food.... I know! Cici, that’s how delicious it was! You kidding me... we don’t typically eat that much—it doesn’t even seem human. Ha!! I’m looking forward to a return visit.

Thanks for stopping @cicisaja, if I don’t hear from you before next week, I hope you and your cool dreadlock having dude have a great weekend.

It'a a pleasure to hang out with both of you, virtually 😊 I can feel the vibe, the sound and enjoy your adventure for free😅.

It's just 2 days before the end of season on steemmonsterz😊 I'll be busy mining DEC and spt .. but don't worry.. ginabot always notifies me about your adventures😊 I'll stop by when I feel a lil bit bore of long losing streak on the battle.