Mamma Mia: delicious degustation at the Mount

We bought a GrabOne voucher for a five course degustation menu at Mamma Mia an Italian restaurant at the Mount.

Unprepossessing exterior of Mamma Mia (ex-Vivo)

Mamma Mia Ristorante Italiano
14B Pacific Ave
Mt Maunganui
Tauranga

07 575 8245

It doesn’t look like much and has recently changed hands (and name), but the degustation menu looked interesting. The regular menu does not look exciting but contains some gems.

We had:

Thin slices of orange with toasted fennel seeds, watercress and an olive oil dressing. The orange and fennel worked beautifully. The sprig of watercress added a nice peppery bite. (Barbara loved the olive oil dressing, I’d have liked to add some vinegary sharpness.)  [From regular menu.]

Carpaccio with incredibly thinly sliced eye fillet1 seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil topped with capers and parmesan, then served with wild rocket and fried bread.2 This was just delicious and beautifully presented, the meat so thin and tender.

Gnocchi “Mare”: Homemade Gnocchi with garlic, fresh tomato, chilli, prawns, shrimps
& herbs topped with Pecorino cheese. The gnocchi were beautiful, tender but firm, and the sauce (in which the chilli was barely noticeable but added just a touch of warmth) was simple but worked well with the seafood and the gnocchi. This was one of the highlights of a delightful meal. (From regular menu.)

Another highlight followed (not from the regular menu) dried salted catfish poached in milk and wine on mash with a lightly creamy sauce and a cherry tomato. The flavours blended beautifully and the use of salted dried fish, and the tasty sauce, lifted this way above “poached white fish and mash”!

For dessert we had iced zabbaglione, a slice of rice pudding flavoured with coconut and a “Soupa Inglezi” concoction of custard3 sponge, chocolate and fruit flavours with desert wine softening the sponge. Each was delicious, but together they almost persuaded two diners who usually pass on desserts that they were the best course of a superb meal.

I have dined as well (or even better?) in France, Thailand, at a few of the best restaurants in Auckland, but this was by far the best meal, and several of the best dishes, we’ve had in the Bay of Plenty.

Definitely one to recommend. And both the chef who helped a busy service by bringing some dishes to the table, and waitress, used a charming mix of Italian and English :)

  1. The chef must have superb knife skills as the meat was really paper thin! []
  2. The “fried bread” was also wafer thin and crisp. []
  3. Yes, real egg custard :) []