If you want to experience real South African hospitality, a buzzing atmosphere and fantastic food, look no further than Baby Mammoth. This cosy little slice of South Africa is sandwiched in between countless other bars and restaurants in central Northbridge but they are definitely standing out from the crowd.
I visited them a few months ago after the hugely successful Boktown Perth event held at The Game Bar & Bistro which is literally around the corner from the William Street eatery. This time I returned with two fellow bloggers, Amanda from The Chef His Wife And Their PERTHfect Life, who was keen to check out the food, and Casey from The Travelling Corkscrew, who of course was interested to see what was going on in the wine department.
Executive chef Ryan Lambson and his wife Tania have owned and run Baby Mammoth for around 2 years already but it was only recently that they were granted an alcohol license. They didn’t have one when I visited back in July but they did have some of the best and most interesting non-alcoholic cocktails I had come across.
This time round there is an extensive wine and beer selection available, as well as an impressive list of alcoholic cocktails which are all beer based. Ryan and his team create all their own beer based vermouths and liqueurs which form the basis of all their unique cocktails.
They are mostly based on some classic cocktails but they all have a distinct Baby Mammoth twist to them, so a Margarita becomes their Margawheata and an Espresso Martini becomes their Devil’s Breakfast. Each recipe uses the most local ingredients they can source, with most beers coming from right here in WA or wider Australia.
When it comes to the wine and beer, the selection is equally impressive, if not a little overwhelming when you realise there are not one, not two, but three chalkboards filled with the various beers available. The boards are divided into the different size bottles available, so the largest board is your regular size bottles, the board above the bar is medium sized ones and the final board near the entrance is the big boys of beer bottles, not for the faint-hearted.
The wine list contains a balance of WA, Australian, New Zealand and of course South African wines, but don’t expect to see anything average here. Chances are unless you are a wine aficionado like The Travelling Corkscrew, you might not recognise too many of the vineyards listed but you can be assured that only the best makes it onto the Baby Mammoth wine list. The team spent months and several visits to Margaret River (what a hardship!) planning and putting this eclectic menu together.
I opted for the Clockwork SBS from Pemberton, Amanda went with the Grinder Chenin Blanc from Paarl and Casey decided on a lovely South African Grinder Pinotage, because you know, when in Rome! Next up we had to decide on food and let me tell you it took a while! In the end we decided to get several dishes to share and went with the Prawns Nacional, Cape Malay fish curry, smoked fried potatoes, cajun spiced calamari and the vetkoek bobotie sliders.
I actually could not fault any of the dishes. I thought the flavours on each one were incredible and while they of course have a South African slant, I would say this is very much South African food with a big, brash twist. They really do take South African food to the next level, so don’t go expecting traditional pap and wors with chakalaka.
Price wise, these guys are right on the mark. Each dish is so reasonable, especially when you are used to seeing crazy Perth prices at some places. The boerie burger I had at the Beer and Beef Festival at Oakover in the Swan Valley last month also appears on the current menu and let me tell you its delicious!
The dessert menu is short and sweet but you will be hard pressed to choose between the famous Malva pudding, a classic Don Pedro and their signature dessert, the Showtime. We opted to share the Showtime and it was huge so definitely a sharing dessert. Comprising popcorn parfait, Milo meringue, cola turkish delight and a wicked chocolate sauce, it was just heaven.
Overall, I absolutely love Baby Mammoth. The energy from the whole team is electric and the atmosphere here is trendy yet welcoming of anyone who walks through the doors. The food is simply fantastic and with the new addition of their cocktails, beer and wine, I can only see these guys going in one direction – up!
Have you been to Baby Mammoth yet? What did you think?