Slabs of sizzling hellim cheese is a dish best served hot.
As are hyped-up new eateries with no bookings, hourlong waits, a ‘wait-til-they’re-begging’ bread policy, so little crockery it must whisk dishes away two mouthfuls before completion and wait staff as disinterested in you as they are the food.
In such circumstances, the food better be hotter than a Flight of the Conchords full frontal.
The food at Gigibaba is pleasant. A sardine, split and slathered with a nutty feta and tomato mortar, was light but unctuous.
Lamb koftes of rough hand-cut mince are liberated with a tangy yoghurt drizzle, although their saltiness suggests a smoker in the kitchen.
Salt also dominates the zucchini and feta fritters, reducing the zucchini element to a mere textural reference in the fluffy moreish mouthfuls.
Hamsi (fried anchovies) are lightly battered and satisfyingly meaty.
The hellim could have been everything there is to love about fried cheese, if it hadn’t arrived simultaneously with the five other dishes and left to cool.
After a 40 minute wait, one wants dinner to last at least as long.
Gigibaba could learn from nearby Anada how to stage the service of tapas dishes to facilitate the five minutes of fame each deserves.
A hankering for something green, such as the broad beans or cabbage parcels, are met with a suggestion of a “shepherd’s salad” not featured on the menu.
The molehill of tomato and cucumber, punchy with herbs and creamy with avocado, is what was expected from the Gigibaba hype – tapas sized dishes of Turkish flavours done exceptionally well.
The interesting winelist (a crisp Gerwurztraminer slices through the salt and flesh), mood-lighting from the tangle of oversized hanging lightbulbs and pumping hip-hop instrumentals have caught the attention of the Melbourne fooderati.
If this floats your boat, try Gigibaba.
But for an affordable, affable, adult-sized meal of tasty Turkish food, head to Sydney Road.
Gigibaba, 102 Smith Street, Collingwood