A brisk stroll up to Newtown, although we contemplated flagging a taxi we made it the whole way without seeing one free.
The Bank on King st was our first stop. It was rather busy as to be expected on a Friday night, despite the Sydney chill. The fragrant thai at Sumalee lured us downstairs but there were no tables free and a queue of a few people already. Whilst waiting for Miss Cath we had a drink (a lemonade for me) in the only free seat on the open deck amongst the banished smokers.
So out we went onto King St with hungry stomachs and no plan. After some aimless wandering up the street dismissing the usual thai suspects and misc noodle joints we all noticed the cosy lampshades through the windows of a 2nd story restaurant that somehow desptie years of wandering up this street we'd never noticed before. Shortly afterwards we also smelt hearty italian garlic and knew this was the night for some good old fashion italian. It is mamma maria's and up some rickety stairs that felt like they'd come from some odd boarding house we found ourselves in a dining room that might have been decorated by someone's italian grandmother.We were seated pretty quickly and inspected the vinyl menus.
Mr. blue-eyes took care of the wine list but what i saw had pictures, generally not a good sign but i left it in his hands. I asked for some mineral water that never came.
The menu was quaint for lack of a better, word. Misspellings were rife, advacado, tomarto amongst others. Groupings were also vague with many combinations of seemingly the same dish with different pastas. A curry sauce of some sort featured on a couple of dishes, i wasn't brave enough to try the italian take on curry however. There was a substantial chicken & veal section with crumbed slabs served with various sauces and accompaniments.
After being drawn in by the garlic we couldn't go past some sizzling garlic prawns, i also got some bruschetta to balance it out a little.
The prawns were well and truly scorching. Days later i can still feel the burnt spot on the roof of my mouth, punishment for diving in too fast. A decent number kept the 3 of us happy with the bruschetta to mop up the oily goodness. The bruschetta benefited from the the flavour from the prawny oil, i guess it is winter and tomatoes just aren't at their best right now.
I ended up going for the classic spaghetti al vongole with tomato, i figured it should be safe enough for my delicate state. Miss Cath went with penne marinara, not trusting herself with slippery noodly pasta and Mr.blue-eyes went for chicken domingo.
No parmesan or black pepper was offered but the pasta was all good without. The chicken domingo was actually quite the dish, apparently domingo means some kind of mushroomy sauce with your chicken schnitzel. Old school peas, carrots (possibly frozen or canned) & mash accompanied it but the sauce and chicken were the star. My pasta was my kind of comfort food with sweet little vongole and a tasty tomato sauce. Miss Cath seemed quite content with her marinara, i noticed some nz green lipped mussels which is a bit of a turn off for me but she was happy enough.
An obligatory glance at the dessert menu took me back to italian dining of my youth with the full range of frozen gelato desserts. I do have a soft spot for the passionfruit served in an chocolate shell but i was in no state for over eating and the weather wasn't quite right.
I think we got away with about $20+ per head. It made a nice change from thai in newtown and maybe i might go back one day if i was craving some old school, very unpretentious homey italian food.
ps. apologies for the lack of pictures, still training myself to take the camera to all meals.