Food and Drink


Mama Baba

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Calombaris’ newest haunt is all in the family, honouring both his Greco and Roman ancestry.

To me this is cause for a celebration as the Greeks and Italians have always shared much in common, both have ruled great empires, have contributed greatly to Australia’s rich multiculuralism, and most importantly they share is a strong sense of family.

Despite its restaurant-of-the-moment popularity amongst the hip, Mama Baba strikes me as a contemporary restaurant for families, lovers of solid, filling dishes and appreciators of waiters in quirky costumes.

The service was friendly and reliable – we were greeted at the door and flooded with smiles and hellos. The space is open and has an air of cheekiness and attitude about it, a banner list of cocktails falls from the bar ceiling, there’s a DJ that looks like someone from a video clip spinning tunes from his lap top, an army of staff and an open kitchen with not a crumb to hide.

The mediterranean feast began with some hot, crispy nibbles: Polenta Chips with sour cream and chilli soffritto ($5.50) as well as Croquettes with anchovy and broccoli cream ($5.50), the latter were delicious mini falafel looking morsels that oozed with salty green flavour once you broke their crispy fried shells.

The main menu is where George really starts to pay homage to his dual nationality, separating Greek and Italian pasta offerings under either Mama (George’s Greek Mother) and Baba (his Italian Father).  All the dishes featured a variety of pastas and exciting flavours, as well as plenty of vegetarian options (an Italian or Greek vego – seems like an oxymoron).

If the parents suggestions don’t grab you, there is always the fish and meat of the day to devour. When in Rome or Athens or Mama Baba even, I decided it would be appropriate to go with a real hybrid: the Tortellini, filled with Prawn Saganaki, tomato and feta ($26.00). This was a very well rounded dish, loaded with fragrance and flavour.

By this stage I was filling up quickly but had to make room for some dessert: Cinnamon Bombolini filled with Nutella, ($12.50). I must mention that some of the sweets are presented in a dessert trolley (like yum cha but desserts) – a nice touch.

Notes: Low key, great date place or a nice option for a casual family dinner. Do try the Croquettes, one of the Mama or Baba pastas, and definitely leave room for dessert. I will be back for the Mama Baba Ferrero Rocher and the Tiramisu on a stick!

21 Daly St, South Yarra
9207 7421
Open: Mon – Thurs and Sat 5pm – late
Fri and Sun 12pm – late
Twitter: @MamaBaba_DalySt
Facebook: Mama Baba


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