Mamma is a bit confused, yet revels in the Coffee

Mamma Says
120 Station Street Fairfield

Bestie and I very quickly made our decision to lunch here on a Wednesday early afternoon in Jan. My only requirements for a venue that day on busy Station Street were:

– that high chairs be available
– that a baby change area be present

That was it. That was my short, not overly-reliant or expectant list.

However, I was of course, still wanting to be impressed.

When we passed Mamma Says bestie informed me that it was fairly new. I got excited looking at the image of a child on the stores sign, and just knew this is where I could go, and be comfortable, especially in the curious/discoverer/impatient/must-touch-and-wander-everywhere stage that baby girl is currently at.

I was however, slightly surprised to find people with no children in tow in the cafe, amongst of course the expected young mums meeting over coffee, Mum resting with child and Nanna with her grandkids. We ventured further out through the indoor area towards a door on the side that went alongside the premises leading us to the back courtyard area. Here again, were no kids: 2 young businessmen types drinking coffee.

I was really happy with our positioning. Firstly, we were outside, meaning I felt less bad about letting baby girl roam freely when she got tired of the high chair. Secondly, the men were having coffee, so in my mind, they were going to leave soon – leaving the entire empty courtyard to ourselves. (Yes, and yes!)

However, it turns out that was just their starter, as they soon received some nice-smelling food before we got our lunches. I ordered:

Dukkah crusted chicken on couscous, rocket, feta (salad) and roast vegetable salad

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Baby girl got a fried egg on toast (I requested they omit the bacon)

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And bestie got Atlantic Salmon with Spinach, Egg and Hollandaise Sauce

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Now, I struck out some of the ingredients in my dish above because THEY WEREN’T THERE. Part of the reason I ordered it was the ‘ting ting ting!’ exciting thought of rocket and feta combined, since I love both and thought this particular combination with the other ingredients would rock. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the dish, once I got into a rhythm of not stopping for a forkful once every 5 minutes in between feeding baby girl. I ate it all, despite the omission of the promised ingredients. It was just a bit dismaying that’s all, especially since I was really looking forward to it. I mean, for a regular menu dish to not have one ingredient as mentioned, you can kind of forgive, only because hey, it’s just one ingredient, and its negative impact is usually lessened when one of the waiters informs you of the omission. But no one said anything to me upon ordering, or delivery of food, and this dish was on the specials menu! Isn’t that stuff meant to rely upon current produce? How are they missing not 1, but 2 ingredients?

Tsk tsk tsk.

Still, I enjoyed it. Chicken was flavoursome and the dressing was lovely. The vegetables consisted of eggplant and pumpkin and were nice…. Just wish it was complete. That should hopefully be the last time they decide to pull the wool over the eyes of ‘another Mum.’

‘She won’t notice, look how busy she is.’

You picked the wrong Mum.

(And you know what, I even wondered if I was in fact mistaking the rocket as just plain lettuce, and it was all getting lost in there… but as any self-respecting rocket-eater would know, it has a very distinctive, peppery flavour, and bestie who is in a ‘healthy’ profession, also confirmed that it was missing. And that still doesn’t explain the feta being AWOL).

Otherwise, presentation was great, and I loved the dark plates our meals were served on.

Baby girl’s meal was fairly simple, and she ate most of it, bar the crust. The crust was way too hard, in fact the entire piece of bread had been toasted for too long. It wasn’t burnt, but it was just too hard. I smeared butter and the yolk over it to help soften the bread, as I didn’t want the roughness sawing at her gums (that happens to me for crunchy bread, let alone a toddler’s sensitive gums).

My bestie helpfully informed me that her meal was great, there was just too much hollandaise sauce, which she spread to the side. Compared to similar dishes, she would have given that one an 8/10.

Despite all this food hoo-ha, I was really happy with where we had decided to sit. We were out of the way out of the indoor diners (some of who seemed surprisingly posh for a venue of this sort, Mum/Bub venue as they’re obviously gearing towards) which meant I was able to let baby girl off her proverbial leash, and let her rearrange the chairs and walk around and around AND around tables (the two men were gone by this point, thank God).

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It had a real backyard feel, with parsley growing along the sides coming out of the tall brickwork that bordered the area, a type of modern rocking horse hung from the wooden exposed beams on the ceiling, and a child-sized model car sat propped up along one wall, and though a child could potentially fit in it, the style of it suggested at $$$ that little fingers should just not get into, or on.

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The staff were slightly odd: I don’t know how else to put it. Our first waiter seemed helpful, generally talking a lot with the 2 men that were initially out there, and then our subsequent waitress, the one we had encountered when first entering the café, seemed… I don’t know, not in the mood. She would smile, but I swear it was like she was saying internally ‘I’ve had enough of this place/diners/kids.’ She was quiet, like she didn’t give a hoot, but smiling politely just enough so as not to allow her ‘unwillingness’ to get her in trouble.

And then there was this other lady, maybe an owner or a chef? But she came out twice, both for no apparent reason (she wasn’t clearing tables or delivering food) and she tried to get baby girl’s attention twice. Look maybe it was even three times she came out. The first time/s she was all “hello!” and waving and baby girl was looking back – cool, that was cute, I appreciate acknowledgement of my baby, thank you. But then she did it again, again for no apparent reason while we were eating, and was calling out to baby girl as SHE was eating, and baby girl turned around and clearly got irritated with this stranger trying to get her attention, and yet she continued trying to get her attention. It was slightly annoying. I wondered if it was me, but bestie agreed.

And then, after ALL that attention, and our plates were cleared – no one came back. We were the only ones out there, and like I already mentioned, that suited me just fine with baby girl’s excessive wandering and touching, but no one came, and we were wanting coffee. It is not nice to sit and wait, WANTING COFFEE. I wonder if they seriously kind of forgot about us, or assumed we were right since we hadn’t said anything when our plates had been taken. But again, we weren’t asked by ‘had-enough’ waitress if we wanted anything else when she took them away. And now that I think of it, when we ordered the waiter didn’t even ask if we wanted drinks.

Tsk tsk tsk.

And then there’s the other possibility. I was asking bestie if chef lady had in fact been annoying as I thought she had, about the time that staff members were ‘out the back.’ Out the back is via a door in the courtyard area, which was right near us, and I’m not sure what was on the other side other than to assume it holds stock, maybe storage and I think I saw a car. But I had kind of forgotten they were there, and they may have heard our discussion about this and thought ‘you think we’re overzealous? Now you can wait.’

So, after waiting a while, I went inside and up to the counter to order some coffees. I was very nice despite our neglect (it wasn’t the barista’s fault) and I knew immediately that the woman behind the counter thought ‘we should have checked on them’ when I asked to get coffees. This lady was very nice and said she’d fix us up, and sure enough the coffees were out in speedy-fashion.

Clockwise: soy latte, cappuccino and babycino.

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Firstly the brightly coloured mugs we received were great. The heart shapes, a lovely bonus 🙂 Thank you barista-lady. And the coffee was really good, and it was only after we’d drank it that bestie and I conversed and both agreed how smooth the coffee had been. She also commented that there was no strong soy taste, and though I don’t drink the stuff what she said made total sense.

So, ending on the coffee note –that was really good. That’s most important, after all 😉

(And after all that I didn’t even need to use the change area – assuming there is one).

Food: 6.5/10. I have to remove points because their menu didn’t promise me what I’d ordered. Food was great though.

Coffee: 8/10.

Ambience: Funnily enough, it had a poshy vibe inside, and I don’t know if that’s because of the modern/rustic-Provincial interior, or whether the customers made it so? Surprisingly I say this, as focused towards the Mum/Bub demographic, I would imagine cas-vibe would be more applicable, and appropriate.

Staff: A bit of everything. A normal one, a had-enough one, an over-zealous one, and then the barista, thank God. A bit confused with them really. But most of them did smile at baby girl, and I guess that’s a bit of a requirement with the name of the place and all.

People: Young mums, Nans, older people and a couple of businessmen made it a truly diverse mix. Which is good for the café, as they are certainly attracting a wide variety of clientele.

Price: 3 meals and 3 drinks added up to under $50. Individually, our dishes were on par at $17 each. AGAIN, we were charged $0.50 cents for a babycino! Come on guys. Froth in a cup, that’s all it is… she didn’t even get a nibblie on the side to make it justifiable (even then, it’s definitely NOT justifiable… see my babycino explanation here). I’m starting a no-pay-for-babycino-movement, damn it.

Advice: Go outside if you’re with kids. It’s just easier. And when there, don’t talk about the staff if they’re out the back, or else you’ll have to stalk them to order your coffees.

Ha ha, only kidding (kind of). If you’re really keen on a dish, maybe just make sure it will come exactly as promised on the menu? Make sure you order drinks of any kind before they walk away from you, and also, grab a coffee. It was yum.

In a nutshell: Despite all of the above – and look, maybe I have been a bit nit-picky, but unfortunately for Mamma’s Hubbie and I have come off the back of some very memorable and awesome dining experiences of late, so fussiness is at a high – I would go back. I would just take my own advice (above) and try some other dishes, as bestie and I were at a loss of what to order at first due to the delicious and vast menu on offer. Glad there’s a place like this in Fairfield that Mums can (hopefully) feel at home at with their littlies.

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