15th October 2015
631-633 Church St
Richmond, VIC 3121
Pizza is bad luck. Either that, or pizza gets me so excited that I forget about everything, including my camera. Three years after I left my camera at Tazio after a pizza dinner, I did the same thing again, this time at Baby Café and Pizzeria. Thankfully, when I realized 4 hours later and called the staff up, they had my camera, and they were still open. Cue frantic 11pm drive across the city. If anyone from the Baby team is reading this, thanks a million!
We rocked up to Baby early because I knew it was going to be busy. After all, when hasn’t a Chris Lucas venture been wildly successful? And at first it seemed like I needn’t have worried – the restaurant was enormous, and there were only a couple of people sharing a drink at the bar. However by 6pm, the restaurant was filling up relentlessly with groups of all shapes and sizes. Looks like I wasn’t being paranoid after all.
I’ve recently really come to appreciate the merits of good Italian food. Although expensive, once you go beyond dense slabs of reheated lasagna, you will never go back. Baby’s menu is almost 50% Italian classics, but it’s hard to forego the pizza when you can smell the bubbling cheese and sauce on freshly baked dough.
Good effort guys.
I had fond memories of my drink at Kong in mind when I ordered the Baby Frozen Fruit Granita ($7). The flavour of the day was an explosively sweet and tangy lemon, the crunchy ice crystals sparkling on the tongue with a burst of citrus.
Cooked at 450 degrees for just 90 seconds, the Margherita ($19.5) at Baby is the real deal. The base is the thinnest I’ve ever had, and is best eaten folded over, forming a pocket of summery tomato sugo, creamy fior de latte, and the occasional rich oiliness of fresh basil leaves. The crust was a perfect wedge of crispy, puffy dough.
I could not resist the lure of the simple yet seductive Piselli Prosciutto e Mozzarella Di Bufala ($23.5). On a bed of sweet minted peas sat a whole heap of salty, waxy prosciutto slices. Scattered over were chunks of hand-torn mozzarella, the milkiness brought out by a shaving of musty pecorino.
I wanted apple pie. Chris wanted bread and butter pudding. So we compromised and got the Torta di Mele ($16.5), aka apple pie. Chris half-heartedly suggested two desserts, but I put my foot down – and it was a good thing too.
Put McDonald’s out of your head – this is bona fide, made from home-grown apples, cooling on the windowsill apple pie. The buttery, crumbly crust was stacked tall with warm slices of spiced apple, served with vanilla flecked ice cream. If you squint a little, you could even probably convince yourself that it was healthy, and order another slice.
Although Baby doesn’t have the wow-factor of Chin Chin or Kong, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why it’s doing so well. In a modern and affluent suburb like South Yarra, a slick new pizza bar serving artisanal Italian food fits like a glove. The prices are on the steep side, but I’m not too shocked given the location and the quality of the food on offer. In short, it is a guaranteed good time for 99 out of 100 people, just as long as they’re not trying to save for a mortgage.
Rating: 14.5/20 – you know you love me, I know you care
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.