Babylon Café

November 15th, 2011

Location: 105-1610 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC  View Google Map
Website: Click Here

It was a sad day when the Babylon Café at Robson and Granville closed. The location was so tiny it was really a storefront which barely fit 3 people inside. I would wait patiently in the lunch queue, which often spilled onto the street, to place my order and specify which vegetables I wanted in my chicken shawarma. I would have my money in hand (correct change if possible) for the cashier who would pass me my tightly wrapped shawarma, and I would squeeze past the other hungry patrons clamouring to get in. Ordering there always reminded me of the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld – I needed to be psychologically prepared for the intensity of the experience. Still, I kept going back, a few times a week, for years. Now I am a regular at their Robson and Cardero location, which offers slightly more standing room, although it’s not exactly a pimped out space. Here, I order their shawarma plates which come with meat (or falafel), rice, pita bread, salad and baked potato. I recommend asking for the tabouleh salad – I’ve seen them chopping armfuls of fresh parsley by hand and it’s a bright contrast against their light and creamy hummus. Their meat is marinated for 24 hours and then roasted on rotisserie spits for a couple of hours and shaved by hand to order. And this level of care is evident in the final product – whether in their wraps or on their plates, the chicken is always tender and flavourful. It’s great to know that for about the same price as a McDonald’s combo, you can enjoy a homemade and unprocessed meal. This is my version of fast food. (EL)

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