Last night some friends and I headed to Mama’s Trattoria on West Row for dinner. It was my friend Skye’s birthday and she chose the venue.
I’m not a huge fan of Italian (shock, horror – I know) so I don’t tend to eat it at restaurants very often – to be honest, I usually rely on my Italian friends to cook me amazing homemade meals, and that’s how I get my Italian-kicks.
However – despite my suggestions of Italian and Sons or Mezalira – when we do go out for Italian, my friends and I keep coming back to Mama’s. Mama’s is a staple, it is reliable, homey and familiar.
Opened a really long time ago (I don’t know the exact date, but my parents used to go there before they had kids) and previously located in Garema Place, Mama’s relocated to the West Row in 2011 to the space previously occupied by Sabayon (a great restaurant that I still lament the loss of). Sadly, the new space has lost a little bit of the charm I always associated with Mama’s – 70’s colours and ‘Italiana’ accents. The restaurant is long and thin, with basic modern tables and chairs filling the neutral space – the kitchen and bar are to the side. A few of the ‘Italiana” pieces have remained, including a wooden window that hangs on the wall and a few Chianti bottles.
The food at Mama’s is your basic Italian fare, bruschetta, pasta, lots of veal and lots of chicken. It’s the kind of food you know they’ve been making for 30 years without much alteration and it’s the kind of food I know my Italian friends’ mothers make. And best of all, it’s plentiful and it’s cheap(ish).
I was starving so I decided to order bruschetta and the Fusilli Pompeii as a pasta main – hind sight has shown me that I didn’t need the bruschetta, and I should have at least shared it with someone else. We decided to get the breads bought out at the same time as the mains, because only two of us were having bread and it’s awkward when people watch you eat…
The food came out quickly and well presented.
The bruschetta was heaped with tomato and not a lot else, I could taste a hint of basil and onion but there was no garlic to speak of. The bread was fresh and soft, crunchy on the outside – it was perfection… only it wasn’t toasted or grilled, which I prefer for my bruschetta. So, it was nice…just not really what I’ve come to expect from my bruschetta.
The Fusilli Pompeii was huge, served in a large pasta bowl – this picture doesn’t quite do it justice. The pasta was cooked well, the sauce was spicy and flavourful (I wouldn’t have minded some more garlic though) and the extra chilli I ordered gave the dish a lovely zing. I couldn’t eat the whole thing (there’s that bruschetta hind sight), so I was given the rest to take home (score!).
For dessert, even though I was very full, I decided to get some Gelati. I ordered a scoop of lemon and a scoop of passionfruit.
The Gelati was a wonderful end to the meal, I especially liked the lemon flavour – it was tangy and refreshing.
The service at Mama’s was a bit all over the shop, but always friendly and polite. The two staff members seems to be a bit frazzled and unorganised – despite the restaurant only being half full, they never stop. The waitress rushed off halfway through taking our order to deliver a meal to someone else, which I found a bit odd, but she was very nice and attentive to us otherwise.
Mama’s works well because you know what you’re getting, and if you’re after delicious authentic Italian food, then it really is a great place.