In what is another addition to Sydney’s, growing and popular regional Italian cucina’s, comes Marta in Rushcutters Bay. Marta was formed out of the ever popular Popolo, as Flavio Carnevale, has made plans to de-formalise what was Popolo, in order for a neighbourhood cucina via Rome. However just because Marta’s flavour profile is grounded in the ruins of the ancient city does not mean the food is not modern and all together exciting to Sydneysiders.
To start, we sampled the Gnocchi Fritti: the fried pillows of potato are donut-like, they kind of feel like nothing but air in your mouth before they are topped with finely grated pecorino and large cracks of black pepper. The Fritti are simple and loud in flavour, when the potato dough melts away you get a burst of pepper through the nostrils calmed by the sharp cheese. We paired that with, Ricotta E Vignarola, house made ricotta, with sautéed broad beans, artichokes, peas and romaine lettuce. It reminded me of an acidic green salad I ate countless times growing up, the vinegar is sharp, the oil luxurious, the ricotta light, but creamy enough to cut through the acidity and mellow the heavily seasoned salad.
For the main course, we had the Bombolotti alla Carbonara. Short tubes of pasta, with guanciale, and pecorino, you know the drill, its Carbonara. This Carbonara, was not sickly and heavy. It was creamy, satisfying, salty and smoky from the guanciale. The pasta was perfectly al dente, giving the dish a great texture when combined with the crunch of the little bits of fried pork.
The Schiacciate, which means something like “crush” in Italian is translated into something you’re more familiar with; pizza. It comes out, rectangular, with deliciously blackened crusts. We ordered the Flaminia, which had a rich tomato sauce, in which you could taste the basil, topped with mushrooms, black olives, fior di latte and prosciutto. The vegetables and sauce are acidic, and refreshing while the fat of the prosciutto and cream of the fior di latte, dull the sharpness drawing your attention to the quality of the base and crust of the pizza.
For dessert, we had to try the Martamisu, as the name suggests Marta’s take on tiramisu. Served in a glass, the light pillows of marscarpone cream and rich chocolate sauce felt almost McDonalds hot fudge sundae like, except infinitely more refined. Flavio ensured that we “push the spoon through the crust” at the bottom of the glass which is a hazelnut shortbread that has been soaked in coffee. It’s rich and extremely decadent and that’s what makes it all the more satisfying.
Flavio and his team at Marta have really scrutinised every detail of Marta, and it shows in the end result, they definitely want to do things their way, the Roman way, it’s distinct enough to excite, and subtle enough to enjoy.
30 McLachlan Ave, Rushcutters Bay, NSW 2010
(02) 9361 6641
Tues-Sun: 5:30pm - late
Breakfast + Lunch
Sun: 9am - all day dining