|Mama Baba has a warehouse feel|
The menu at Mama Baba is divided into a Greek and Italian section which draw on the influences of Calombrais’s Greek Mother and part Italian Father. It’s very much a family affair listing dishes like salicce made by “Mr Tricarico” who is apparently Calombrais’ Father in law. Whether Greek or Italian, the main affair is the pasta. It is made fresh each day from 00 flour in the pasta extruder which cost the same as a full time Nonna on Sunday rates.
To start there are “snacks” which are easy to share. Arancini filled with bolognese and mashed potato ($7.50) were deep fried nuggets of comfort food. Plump scallops ($3.50 each) grilled and served on the shell were topped with creamy garlic skordalia and golden crisp fried breadcrumbs. The parma ($7.50) was a bite sized version of the classic pub fare – a tiny panini filled with chicken and jamon and laced with tomato sauce.
|Mama Baba’s version of spaghetti carbonara|
It has to be said the pasta is excellent, of the soft, silky egg-yellow type. The best we tried was the tortellini ($23) which was stuffed with saganaki and served with prawns, slow roasted tomatoes and feta. I also liked Mama Baba’s take on a carbonara ($27) which was constructed at the table from egg, slithers of crispy maple pork, pumpkin parmesan and a saffron broth.
|Prawn and saganaki tortellini|
However gnudi ($24) was dull despite the “sounds good on paper” accompaniments of burnt butter, walnuts and honey and the huge ravioli ($27) filled with beef and bone marrow were overwhelming. The wasabi which accompanied the ravioli was not quite the weird addition we expected and was actually too tame to add much kick.
|“Chopped” salad ($7.50)|
Desserts were a nostalgic treat in the form of reworked childhood favourites. The Mama Baba interpretation of a Ferrero Rocher ($9.50) was a hazelnut confection filled with dark oozing chocolate while Calombrais’ take on a rum baba, called a “Mum Baba” ($9.50) featured boozy slices of sponge.
|The Mum Baba|
My tip though is to ignore the dessert trolley and instead go straight for the homemade ice-cream ($8 for two scoops) the vanilla splice was rich and flecked with vanilla bean seeds while the milo and milk and the crunchy peanut butter and salt flavour were both dude food delights. The cones were filled with chocolate at the bottom Cornetto style.
|Home made ice-cream|
Mama Baba serves up Italian and Greek food but not as you know it. It offers a very modern take on some comfort food classics. Despite a few exceptions it mostly works and the desserts in particular offer good old fashioned eating pleasure. At the moment eating them on a Sunday comes at no extra cost.
Category: Greek, Italian, South Yarra