Generally when you think of yum cha you immediately think of dim sum...but the Roman Greco restaurant from George Calombaris is working hard to change that with their regular Sunday Roman Greco Yum Cha.
I recently went along with family to see what all the fuss was about. Each week Mama Baba is offering a well priced, substantial spread of Italian and Greek favourites served "yum cha" style to share with your family and friends. The menu takes you on a journey through antipasto, assorted pastas, salads with sweet treats to finish.
Mama Baba is located in Daly Street South Yarra, underneath the new Lilli Apartments, in an area of burgeoning growth. The restaurant is very reminiscent of the trendy establishments in the Meatpacking district of New York and has a cool warehouse vibe. The left hand side of the restaurant pulls focus with a bustling open kitchen, with fresh made pasta drying on racks in the window as you enter. The lounge bar to the right is a nice place to meet for drinks and a DJ adds to the mood by spinning a good mix of new and old soul tracks.
On this particular Sunday we were treated to freshly baked bread and Tuscan olives to start. With the help of our knowledgeable server we choose a bottle of Italian pinot to accompany our Italian feast. The wine list is extensive and can be a little overwhelming, so we were very appreciative of our lovely Waitress' recommendation.
First course consisted of three share plates of salami and pickled eggplant, smoked salmon creme fraiche and capers, and a delicious nutty pearl barley with roast pumpkin and parmesan. It certainly whet our appetites for what was to come.
As a pre-cursor to the second course we were served a small bowl of piping hot minestrone. This was a pretty good minestrone, full of spring vegetables but was perhaps a little under seasoned.
Second course featured two delicious home-made pastas...one a creamy penne with a delightfully meaty mushroom ragu and the other a fresh cassarecce with fried chickpeas, peas and mint. The home-made pasta was the hero of each dish.
As if this wasn't enough, we then went on to our third course of serious carb loading! A greek style lemon braised chicken with risoni followed by spaghetti amatricana, a traditional pancetta and tomato sauce from Southern Italy. The lemon braised chicken was succulent and refreshing and was a good foil for the rich and complex tomato sugo of the amatricana.
With bellies near bursting, we managed to find room for dessert. On the menu was the most delicious creamy honey pannacotta with a cherry and almond crumble followed by little Nutella filled doughy sugar-coated bombaloni. Totally sinful!
Such a fabulous way to spend a Sunday...a lazy long lunch spent in good company. Fantastic value too considering you get such a substantial amount of food for only $40 per person. Highly recommend getting along and sharing good food with your family and friends. Here's to bringing back the Sunday long lunch!
21 Daly St South Yarra Vic 3141
(03) 9207 7421