A Russian walks into a restaurant. The waiter sees him, recognises him and looks worried. “We don’t have enough wine for you”, he says. This is the kind of impression you can make in restaurant staff if you consume enough wine in one sitting. That episode happened almost 10 months ago, two Russians were involved, and the waiter still remembers.
There must be some sort of Russian-Italian connection, I guess. The mafias? Maybe. The entrance to Mamma Maria certainly looks like taken from an old mafia-related film.
Once inside the “vintage” vibe continues. I feel in the 80s again and while browsing the menu, which I guess is as old as the venue, judging by the prices written on labels that have been pasted on top of the original amounts, I thought it’d be better not to order raw oysters.
The non-Paleo people ordered garlic bread and bruschetta to share. Several bottles of excellent Chianti were brought to the table.
Garlic bread, Chianti, bruschetta
The Russian birthday boy ordered garlic prawns in garlic sauce and mussels in tomato, cream, white wine and onion sauce to share. The prawns were tasty, very garlicky, and not overcooked. I decided to overlook the fact that they were swimming in seed oil and ate away. The mussels (somewhere else in the menu labelled as “muscles”) were good, too.
Garlic prawns ($16.90)
We were a big bunch of people so I’m only going to talk about the dishes that I actually ate/tried. Alvaro and I shared the fillet Mignon (Scotch fillet wrapped in bacon) and the grilled trout. All mains come with your choice of chips or mash and steamed vegetables. We asked for no chips or mash, and got green beans and carrots. The people who ordered some kind of potato product got green beans only. I ordered the beef medium rare, it was medium, but tender enough. The bacon gave it extra flavour (honestly, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?) and the veggies were perfectly cooked (not mushy, not too raw).
The trout, in my opinion, was the best looking dish of the night. The beautiful whole trout had been grilled to perfection: crispy skin, moist flesh. It didn’t need anything else than a squeeze of lemon.
Bonnie ordered the veal lemon, which sadly wasn’t as good as our dishes. The veal fillet was thin and very tough, and both the menu and the waiter described it as “veal + lemon” only, but it came covered in a thick sauce. He said it was gluten-free, which may be true or not, but it still had some kind of flour in it. Not cool.
Max had the chicken salmon, a fillet stuffed with pink salmon, leek, cooked tomato, cream, basil and garlic. It looked delicious.
Chicken salmon ($16.90)
Tatiana had the eggplant Sonia, peeled & crumbed eggplant, tomato, mushroom, capsicum & melted cheese. Gluten, nightshades and dairy in one dish… definitely something I wouldn’t order but I’m sure she enjoyed it.
Eggplant Sonia ($15.90 for the large size)
Considering we were having dinner at an Italian restaurant I was surprised by the fact that only two fettuccine and one gnocchi dishes were ordered. They looked good, and I didn’t hear any complains. This is where I started losing track of what was ordered, so the pictures won’t be accurately labelled, sorry! (the wine was good!) I’ll leave you with the photos and allow you to decide if the meals look appetizing or not.
Fettuccine alla panna ($14.90 for the large size)
Fettuccine #2 ($14.90 for the large size)
Gnocchi ($14.90 for the large size)
Chicken #1 ($16.90)
Chicken #2 ($16.90)
The birthday boy and his lady had matching desserts: chocolate and peach pancakes. A couple of people had the gelato covered in chocolate.
Gelato covered in chocolate
After finding out that we were celebrating a birthday, the waiter brought a round of complimentary port in shot glasses, my favourite kind of dessert.
Mamma Maria Upstairs
1/239 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9516 4428