In Italy, there is a word for grown men who live at home and are enthusiastic about their mothers. “Mammoni” describes the kind of guy who is used to being waited on by a mother who shows her love through food. And at Bar Mammoni, a new eatery and bar open all day in the burgeoning CBD Quay Quarter area, this is exactly the kind of attention you can expect around the clock.
“We wanted to create a place that is always open, no matter what time of day it is,” says Scott Brown Broadsheet over a pile of homemade cakes. He is the creative director of House Made Hospitality, the group behind Apollonia, Grana and Lana, all next door in Hinchcliff House. “You can come first thing in the morning for your coffee and last thing at night for grappa or limoncello.”
The small space is mostly kitchen, but there is a bar to sip for $ 2 Allpress espresso (standing up, Italian style) and seating for 24 in the courtyard. The counter is framed by a stand of homemade amari, with a new bottle of champion every week.
Morning at Bar Mammoni is all about coffee and pastries. Jonny Pisanelli (also the founder and owner of Adelaides Abbots and Kinney) brings traditional Neapolitan training and a punk-rock approach to pastry to his role as leader of the viennoiserie.
“I like nostalgic tastes,” Pisanelli says Broadsheet. “We want to make you smile and bring you back to childhood by using traditional flavors and being modern with them.”
The cheekily named creations – Cinnabon Jovi is brioche with cinnamon foam and salted vanilla icing – may have recognizable ingredients, but they are anything but traditional. Pisanelli even reinvents the chocolate croissant: he puts a chocolate brownie inside the pastry and drips the salted caramel cream on the outside. On Fridays, he does sfogliatelle, to “take people back to the times they could travel to places like Naples”.
Chef Jason Duncan (ex-Charlie Parker’s) oversees a lunch time where pizza is the focal point. The 72-hour fermented pizza dough is made with flour, freshly ground next to it at Grana Bakery. The crust is a light, crispy platform for a variety of changing toppings like ‘nduja, caramelized onions and ricotta; pork and squid with lemon garlic cream; and tomato, stracciatella and basil. The small dishes menu includes Sydney rock oysters, a chicken wing cotoletta and a dish of dips and spiced meats.
Hinchcliff House’s drinks expert Jason Williams came up with the “unapologetically light”, seasonally developed spritz menu, which showcases a fantastic selection of Australian and Italian spirits. Currently, the options include a strawberry spritz and a rosemary spritz. Big sister Apollonia next door has one of Australia’s largest collections of Italian and Australian amari, and she is very generous with her saves. And a tight wine list offers both local and Italian drops by the glass, carafe or bottle.