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It was an accident we ended up having a date for five on Valentines Day at Mama Baba but a very happy accident! A food-loving friend suggested the restaurant after some rave peer reviews. The latest for the Press Club Group, a restaurant influenced by George Colombaris’ heritage. We thought about who else might to join us and another couple popped into my head… Mainly because the husband in this particular team is not really into trying new restaurants. His idea of a romantic night out would be Kooyong Tennis Club Dining Room to use up his annual food and beverage credit… Not a bad dinner location really but not really that exciting for his wonderful wife who cooks him all manner of delicious dinners…. regularly! Therefore, I called the wife regarding dinner and we locked in Valentine’s Day to at least save the boys some thinking effort (and probably their asses as it’s fairly unlikely they would have booked anything otherwise).
We were booked for a two-hour sitting between 7pm and 9pm on a shared table. The only option available for our group of five. I don’t mind sharing tables… as long as I’m not on the end sitting next to strangers right…? It was actually fine as the guys that did end up sitting next to us didn’t arrive until 8:30 so we had mostly finished, plus our group had consumed a couple of bottles of wine (excluding me as February seems to be lasting FOREVER) and were less concerned about close contact with other humans. While it was super busy, it didn’t feel too crowded. The old nightclub space was maximised with bare, high ceilings, a tricky mirror or two and great lighting, particularly around the bar areas, making all the pretty spirit bottles into decorations in their own right. It was Valentine’s Night so the crowd was mostly couples, our little group and one big ‘girl power’ group. We suggested that the waiter might get lucky later…
Food now. The pasta menu is split into Greek influence of his mother and the Italian influence of his father. We all wanted to try everything so we decided to share starters and mains… 2 pastas from each influence…
ricotta with byzantine vinaigrette
chicken parma burgers
Bucanti carbonara with calamari, crispy maple pork, pumpkin parmesan, saffron brodo
Agnolotti with chicken, thyme, melted butter and anchovy pangrattato
Tortellini of prawns, saganaki, tomato and feta
Ravioles filled with lamb, celery and topped in sauce avgolemono
Rave reviews around the table (and in many conversations since)! Favourites were split which is always good. My favourites, though both extremely rich, were undoubtably the Bucanti; Wow! carbonara AND pork AND calamari… AMAZING!… and the Agnolotti; this wasn’t one of my choices initially but I am sooooo glad we ordered it!!
“Can I interest you in some dessert?”
A couple of cones for the crew - crunchy peanut butter and salt
OMG... what an Italian Mess...! Delectable!
I had no idea what an Italian Mess consisted of but was pretty confident if it was anything like an Eton Mess I would be okay. Core ingredients intact – cream and meringue! Okay is an understatement! I can’t exactly tell you what else is in it, except some very alcoholic jelly chunks and super thin fruit slices, nectarine I think but it was an phenomenal finish to a fabulous night. And nice and non-romantical for the boys!