What we ate in Melbourne, February 2013

We ate so much food in Melbourne. SO MUCH. Nearly every day we were out for lunch or dinner, or both. That’s what’s nice about being on holidays but by the end of it, all I wanted to eat was salads. We had a few stand out amazing meals though, and I want to share them with you in case you’re planning a trip down under.

Mama Baba

For anyone who watches Masterchef Australia here in the UK, you’ll be familiar with the adorable judge George Calombaris. He has an ever-growing hoard of restaurants in Melbourne. Mama Baba opened in 2012 and has a pasta focused menu but with plenty of salad and meat options. We tried so much food on the menu and some of the things were really mind blowing.

Parma: Panino, chicken, jamon, tomato ketchup

We had these as a starter. If there was one thing I had to eat every day for the rest of my life, I would pick this. They were simply delicious! The bun was quite sweet with some really nutty cheese and all off set with a super crunchy parma (chicken) in the middle.

Scallop: Grilled, garlic skordalia, crumbs

When I lived in Melbourne, I used to eat at the Press Club bar after work on a Friday night (too) frequently. I loved the scallops there, and these had a similar vibe to them. Lovely and crispy on top, with an oozy sauce to complement the scallop.

Gnudi: Pumpkin puree with a dash of honey, fried sage, mitzethra and pumpkin seeds

We ordered this on a recommendation from my best friend. I don’t even like pumpkin but this dish changed my mind. This was hands down the nicest “pasta” dish I’ve ever eaten. I loved everything about it. I’d never heard of gnudi before (it is simply “nude pasta” – a pasta dish without an actual flour wrapper).

Orecchiette: Braised wagyu, peas, lemon, pangrattato

This is the second nicest pasta dish I’ve ever eaten. The pasta itself was so soft and delicate, almost slippery (without being creepy) and the wagyu was rich and intense. Wow. By this stage of the meal I was so happy and excited – the magical feeling you get from a really amazing meal.

We ordered heaps more food than just this – but I thought I’d just share these few with you. Mama Baba has an upbeat atmosphere with an in-house DJ. The staff are super, super friendly – although I am biased because our waiter was a friend of my best friend. So he took extra good care of us! I loved the idea of a mash-up between Greek and Italian food, and think that Mama Baba really pulls it off.

Mama Baba on Urbanspoon

Little Hunter

This restaurant is seriously brand spanking new in Melbourne. In fact, we went on their opening night to the public. I read about it online as it is run by the sous chef of The Fat Duck here in the UK. Based on just that small piece of information, we were super keen to visit. We went with a group of friends and were pretty excited to see what the food would be like.

Complimentary bread

Normally I wouldn’t include a picture of the bread. But this bread was to die for. Pull apart herb bread. Sounds nice hey? Wait until I tell you the butter was from chicken skin! Ok, this might not appeal to everyone, obviously, but if you love your meat then this is the butter for you. It was decadent, rich and the bread just soaked it all up. I think if we’d eaten three courses of this bread we’d all have been happy!

“Beef on Toast” – chicken liver parfait, dressed chives

We all agreed that this was really great – strong flavours, all balanced really well.

Grits: herb butter, salt

I’d never tried grits before – in fact, I barely knew what they were. I have a few American friends who have mentioned how great they are though, and after trying this I’m inclined to agree! Really rich, savoury and smooth. I can’t wait to try grits again (I can’t find them in the UK though – if you know where I can get them, please comment and let me know).

For main, I had a Blackmore flank steak with avocado and Cajun flavours. Somehow in all the excitement I forgot to take a photo. My friend had the Robbin’s Island ribeye which I have to agree was probably a smidge nicer than my own steak (although is also more expensive!)

We finished off with a few desserts.

Fresh Yogurt – apple pie jam, basil granita, nutmeg

This was really lovely. Refreshing, from the granita and then a really awesome balance between apple and yoghurt further down the jar.

I really enjoyed the food at Little Hunter. It was all let down by some seriously awkward service, but I would put that down to first night teething problems. I’d happily return when we are back in Melbourne to see how it’s going!

So that’s two of the great meals we had in Melbourne. But that isn’t it for now! I will put up another post in the upcoming week with some more great dishes. If you’ve visited recently and ate somewhere great, why don’t you share it in the comments?

Little Hunter on Urbanspoon

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