Devonshire Tea and The Dandenong Ranges go together like jam and cream (sorry, that one was too easy). What’s less easy is getting lip-smacking, contemporary Italian food in Olinda, Sassafras, Emerald or anywhere else in the Hills. Until now, anyway...
Introducing Bam Bam. A brand new family-friendly, all-day Italian restaurant.
You’ll find this place in Avonsleigh, which (we’ll be honest) we’d never heard of before. You may as well say there’s a new Italian restaurant in Narnia. Turns out Avonsleigh is a super-cute little township, just up from Emerald, along the Belgrave-Gembrook Rd.
Bam Bam hits its note right from the start. This place is all about ‘prima la famiglia’ (‘family first’), which is why there’s a dedicated undercover playground, decorated in hand-drawn etchings by local artist Zoey Eley, plus a hand-churned range of artisan gelato that’ll keep the little ones buzzing all night.
While the kids are tearing up the playground, adults can tuck into an all-day menu, featuring house-made pasta, oven braised comfort food, gooey Burrata and fresh salumi boards. Need a few tips? We recommend the sweet and sour sardines with salsa verde and toasted ciabatta, or wood-fired pizzas, topped with pork sausage, zucchini, mozzarella, peas and Napoli sauce.
Owners Paul ‘Dougie’ Douglas and Belinda Smull are also serving up a tight range of pasta and risotto. Our pick is the gluten-free veggie risotto with braised leek, peas, chervil, parsley oil and parmesan.
The desserts wouldn’t look out of place on a white tablecloth on Chapel St. There’s a wicked potted tiramisu (which we’ll be coming back to try ASAP), but the highlight has to be the olive oil chocolate mousse with pistachio biscotti, raspberries and olive oil pearls.
Hills residents, be happy. If you can’t look at another scone again, this place is for you. PS. cyclists and puppies are more than welcome. Score.
Image credit: Bam Bam