Ober Mamma: Italian Aperitivos & Cocktails

Ober Mamma Paris' best barsSo, in my last post, I was going on about finding the new, the hidden, the things that everyone hasn’t yet discovered…basically bringing something to the table that isn’t already all over the blogosphere. But, that doesn’t mean, I’m not also going to hit the hype spots and talk up trendy tipples if they deserve the dish. And today, that means Ober Mamma.

Following fast on the success of East Mamma, the Big Mamma group created something fun and fabulous for an updated aperitivo or full on meal. The décor demonstrates to the Italian aptitude for style. The front room bar area merges classic moldings with boldly colored cushions, bright ceramic glassware and a lively staff to create a frenetically fashionable space. It’s the kind of space that lacks pretention, but still makes you feel a little cooler by association. Beyond the bar is a more traditional trattoria with cured hams hanging from the ceiling and wine bottles lining the walls.

ober mamma cocktailsAnd as for the drinks menu? It’s just as delectable as the décor. They offer just over a dozen drinks at very nice prices for Paris 9 – 10 Euros, which are divided between aperitivo/spritz, summer drinks and ‘big boys.’ Any of the first two categories will work well for an apero. And, it’s also nice to see someplace that’s working a fresh angle on the spritz. I’m a longtime fan of an Aperol spritz, but it’s feeling so overexposed lately thanks to excessive (and very successful!) marketing. So, I welcome their new spins like their Summer Spritz with Dolin Rouge, grapefruit, ginger, peppermint and prosecco.

As for the Big Boys, they further confirm the bar staff’s skills. The Safran (Gin, Absinthe, saffron infusion, Lillet Blanc and lemon) with its light, delicate, foamy froth was heavy on the saffron. It’s not on the “aperitivo” portion of the menu, nor should it be. This drink will work well with food (specifically, I’m thinking Chorizo…but I can see it working with a variety of rich seafood dishes or charcuteries).

IMG_9637My favorite taste test of the evening was the Balsamico, which is suggested as a digestive. And, I can see why. It’s a successful combination of rum, Martini Gran Lusso, Falernum, balsamic sherry, piment and lemon grass (spray). It’s short, stiff and just what you’d like to finish a meal. But, it’s the presentation that takes this further: a small ceramic cup nestled in a bed of crushed ice and packed into a small wooden chest. The surrounding ice keeps it cool, but not ice cold – a nice temperature for a digestive. The smoldering cinnamon stick beside the drink gives off a pleasant aroma and sends off a small stream of smoke, which feels like light-hearted play on an after dinner cigar.

IMG_9641The bartender gave us plates to take to the slicing station where a friendly lady filled them up with most excellent bar snacks: huge olives, tiny bread bites, thinly sliced meats and chunks of cheese. It’s a tiny – but incredibly tasty – plate that convinced me of the quality ingredients and left me determined to come back for a full meal.

We arrived just before opening (and a line of people were already lingering) and just a half hour later, the bar was elbow to elbow with happy, chatty clients, sipping on spritz and waiting for table space in the back. The owners hopped on top of a ladder with a megaphone to welcome the crowd and give more information on when tables would be available. This interaction with the crowd definitely adds to the fun energy of the experience.

There’s no downside to Ober Mamma. The drinks and décor are fresh and fun. The service is friendly and as fast as possible given the crowds. The quality of the food seems top notch. The only drawback might be having to wait for table if you’re here for a meal. Or is that a benefit? Because really, that just gives you time to enjoy one more aperitivo before tucking into dinner.

Ober Mamma
107, boulevard Richard Lenoir
Paris 75011

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