The food critic puckers her lips and spits the spoon out, clean. Yes, George. My 10-month-old baby does like your strained pumpkin. Forget about the journalist, the baby is happy. And George is happy.
“I brought some baby food, in keeping with the theme,” I tell George. “It’s lamb with polenta, but it’s not so great. Would you like to try it?”
“Um, no thanks,” he declines politely.
|The fab prawn tortellini, $26|
“There is no restaurant down this lane,” my taxi driver declared confidently on our way to MamaBaba.
But after opening in South Yarra on 20 January, at 7pm tonight, it’s
three-quarters full. At 8pm it’s packed and roaring, as bronzed Toorak
blondes pick over the menu which features a range of Italian pastas and risotto married with Greek favourites such as stifado and kritharaki.
“My mama is Greek. My baba is Italian. This is my food,” reads a large banner in the newest addition to the Calombaris empire which includes the Press Club, St Katherine’s and the gorgeous Hellenic Republic.
George’s website tells me he’s been voted one of the top 40 most influential chefs in the world, and in the top 100 most influential Australians. The man knows his onions, and, more importantly, he knows what onions we like.
So it should come as no surprise during Australia’s current baby boom that I find that the tv judge’s new menu includes three types of baby food ($3.50), served in little glass jars with a label that reads ‘Just like my mama used to make’.
There were some timing issues (why did the complementary taste, a baby chicken parma topped with an Italian flag, come out at the same time as my main?) but for the record, my prawn tortellini, soft pasta dumplings filled with prawn mousse and prawn meat saganaki with cherry tomatoes and feta, is divine. The service is slick and the international wine list exciting. We’ll be back.
MamaBaba, 21 Daly St South Yarra