Sunday, 29 July 2012

George Calombaris, for your restaurant Mama Baba, I give you a Masterchef score of ......

Well, when my wife wanted to have our wedding day on the same day of her birthday, that was good news to me. I am the type of person who can nearly forget what happened last week, the person who still cannot remember the exact dates of Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day. I can only remember pretty much my birthday, and our anniversary and her birthday. Most other important days struggle to stay in my messy filing system in my head, they come and go as quickly as the trains at Flinders Street Station!

It was three years ago that we were in Hawaii for our wedding. We had a fancy birthday dinner at Nobu, for my wife, and every year since then we normally go to Nobu for our anniversary/birthday celebration dinner. We decided to break this tradition with going to one of George Calombaris' Restaurants, but which one? In the end, we decided on Mama Baba, which was close to home.

One of the main reasons for picking Mama Baba, was The Mama Menu option, for $55, you get a four course dining experience, which is a sample of what they have to offer. Thinking it was a good price, and we weren't sure what to get, then The Mama Menu was there to make the decision for us. So I made sure that I booked our table a few weeks in advance and lucky I did, because they only had either 6:30pm or 9pm to choose from for the night we wanted. So I of course picked the 6:30pm.

On arriving at the restaurant, we opened the doors, and started our journey down the steps, where we had a very nice surprise of seeing George himself slaving away in the kitchen. Of course we were expecting to see him, but it just added to the great night and experience which we did have. I should have probably mentioned this earlier but I am not very good at listening and going over the finer details of most things, so when my wife told me they had this special $55 per person menu, to me, it was a good way of having a good night without thinking about what to eat.

So without really looking at the menu we decided that we would go with The Mama Menu. The waitress was very quick to prompt that they cater for dietary/allergies, and of which my wife is allergic to poultry products of all sorts, and this was no issue for them. They replaced a duck dish for lamb.

I was facing away from the kitchen, and when the first course come out, I just saw the waiters arm, and was just trying to concentrate on him explaining each dish, as he was putting the plates on the table. But then it clicked, this was no waiter, this was George. George himself served our entree! First to see him working at one of his restaurant, then to see him serve us, it was just fantastic. Entree consisted of RICOTTA Byzantine vinaigrette, PROSCIUTTO with mustard fruits, and a swordfish CEVICHE.

The second course to come out was TORTELLINI Prawn saganaki, tomato, feta and the other dish was the MAKARONIA White balsamic braised lamb, chestnuts, oregano, side serve of FENNEL Orange, spring onion salad.

After the second course, we were very full, and were expecting the next course to be our dessert. At this stage I was impressed with the size of the servings per dish and I was very content with the outcome of the night, and then the mains were served. Mains consisted of Beef cheeks (cannot remember the exact dish name), MULLOWAY Parsnip purée, dutch carrot, wasabi lettuce, with sides of peas with ricotta and wet polenta with two cheeses.

Deserts was Cinnamon bomboloni with Nutella and The Italian Mess. Which we consumed very quickly.

All in all, we had a great feast. Enough food was brought out for us to make it worth our while. Not only that, the food was to die for! I would say that it would have to be one of the best restaurants that I have been to in a long time. The service was also fantastic, even if George hadn't of been there, the staff of course were A+ and very friendly. George too was very friendly, and did the rounds of the tables, everyone wanting their picture with him, and he did not blink once. He didn't mind having his photo taking, and not only having his picture taken, he would stay for a quick chat too.

George I give you my Masterchef score of 10 put of 10, for the service, also for your personal service, of course the food, and just the overall experience. Thank you Mama Baba, I will be coming back again, and look forward to many yummy memories.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Upcoming MIFF, what well you see?

Yes, it is that time of year again, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), is back on from the 2nd August to 18th August. Next month I will be seeing just over 20 movies in two weeks, and you might think that is a lot of movies. Well, I do too, last year I saw 14 movies at MIFF and the year before I think I only saw around 5. I am a big movie geek seeing that amount? Well it might be too most people, but, I am a lightweight movie geek, compared to the heavyweights, who see around 60+ movies during the festival.

I have only been to the festival over the last three years, and have been a MIFF member since going to the festival. It is a great annual event show casing all types of movies from all over the world. I like it cause it is a great opportunity to be able to go to the movie and see something you wouldn't normally be able to see on the big screen, or to be able to see some movies earlier than expected. The movies which I am looking forward too at MIFF will be Ace Attorney, Save your Legs, Hara-Kirir: Death of a Samurai, We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist, Rampart, plus, what am I kidding, I am looking forward to seeing all of the movies at the festival. 

Being MIFF members has it's benefits too. While the festival is on, you get priority queuing to all the movies you attend at the festival, you also get discounted movies tickets, and sneak previews to movies throughout the year. The other main benefit of being a member is knowing that you are supporting an organization which supports the local industry.

August is a big month for me then, not only am I going to be seeing lots of fantastic movies, but I will also be starting my new job too. So, lots of movie blogging for me to do for August, not sure if I will include the MIFF movies in my monthly installment, or do special MIFF blogs during the festival. This will be something I will decide when it starts.

What's on at MIFF, then click HERE.
Want to become a MIFF member, then click HERE.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Monthly movies for June, by Ash

Only the two movies for the month of June, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Eames: The Architect and The Painter. Seeing that it is a digitally remastered movie only showing at the Astor, and that it is a movie which most of us have already seen, I decided to post my blog early for that movie, the blog called "Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Astor Theatre". I would highly recommend to see the movie at the Astor, the last time I saw it on the big screen was when I was little, and being digitally remastered, it is a great movie to see again on the big screen.

Eames: The Architect and The Painter: This was a really interesting documentary, one which I would have never have gone to see if it wasn't for my wife, who keeps my mind open to different things. It was interesting on a few different levels, the Eames themselves, and then their Company. They were very open minded and creative people, wanting to create in many different forms, the first being the new style of chairs. These chairs are now classics, and a lot of companies replicate them today, but back then they were the main stream of income in the early years. From designing these chairs, they were able to go onto bigger but I cannot say better things, because people still love those chairs. They always thought outside the box, and looked like they were really willing to give anything a try. The only thing I found disappointing, yet this document gives a little light too, is the Eames employees. From this documentary it looks like the Eames themselves took a lot of credit and naming rights for things which their employees did. Now, I understand that it would have the Eames name to it and that they have ownership of the products, but I think they could have given designer credit, where credit is due. I really enjoyed this, 3.5/5. This is on at ACME, in Melbourne.

With the MIFF coming up on the 2nd of August, it will be two weeks of movies overload. Make sure you get the program on the 13th of July, in the Age newspaper, and study up, and pick your movies wisely. Also, don't forget to have a look at the Astor Theatre Calendar for July, for of course Indiana plus all the other great movies. Even new release movies, like Cabin in the Woods, where you can only see at the Astor Theatre and Cinema NOVA. I will be hoping to see this movie in July, so I might see you there.