My first farewell post.
Today I heard that Moomba, Loughborough’s first and only Australian restaurant has just closed down. Very sad news indeed. It was one of our favourite restaurants in town, although not somewhere that we have visited recently, for no other reason than there have been so many other places for us to explore.
Moomba is a combination of 2 Aboriginal words, but its etymology is unclear. The alleged translation is “let’s get together and have fun”, but the word is a compound of “moom” which means bottom or rump, and “ba” which means at, in on or up in Victorian Aboriginal dialects. Some say that the president of the Australian Aborigines League proposed the name to Melbourne City Council to get back at them, although his wife is later supposed to have said that he chose it as a generic term for ceremony or celebration.
Enough of words, let’s talk a little more about the restaurant itself. I’ve lost count of the number of visits we made. It opened some time in the famed year 2000, and they initially avoided the more “clichéd” Aussie dishes of kangaroo, crocodile and the like. However, lots of people turned up expecting this, so they did add these items to the menu, alongside their take on modern Australian cuisine, lots of fusion food and Asian inspired dishes. The Backpackers BBQ was a great menu item, a very good value take on a mixed grill, with various meat items, a fluffy jacket potato and interesting salads and a lovely seedy/fruity slaw.
Here’s Mrs MOFAD from October 2013 when we were getting in some practice for the 2014 “Oz Odyssey”:-
We had many great nights there, including quite a few work meals out. The night that Jim’ll ordered the garlic bread starter and was faced with a bread board with a 24 inch ciabatta with a knife stuck in the middle will now live longer in the memory than Moomba itself.
Moomba is where MOFAD companions Gemma and Ian revealed their pregnancy news (although we had guessed it!) and also a place where we have had a meal with most of the people that have come to stay with us.
They were always evolving, changing things around, but retaining the essence of Moomba, which had an authentic Australian feel to it, but without that ever feeling forced. They always had some good wines on, as well as better examples of Australian beers than those that most people are used to. Their cocktail menu was a good one too, with such comedy names as Sex on Bondi and Matilda’s Chuff.
The dessert menu was also something special. Not your standard chocolate fudge cake or strawberry cheesecake here, lots of interesting things to choose from, again with Australian flavours like wattle seed.
Sadly, we must bid farewell to Moomba, one of the nicest restaurants to grace the streets of Loughborough.
Hooroo Moomba mate!