Martini Restaurant | Leichhardt
Thanks to Groupon, Claudia & I plus out partners recently got to enjoy a restaurant of our choice.
Now as many of you may know, I’m not one to shy away from a group deal. I’ve used them in the past, and we’ve enjoyed each experience bar one, but that was more the fault of the restaurant rather than the deal itself. It’s a great way of trying new restaurants. Now deciding on a place was difficult in itself. Groupon seems to have a lot of deals going on at the one time, which I would say sets this apart from other group buying sites. There was teppanyaki, Japanese, Chinese – pretty much every cuisine under the sun- to choose from. Since our dining partners sometimes shy away from raw things or food that’s thrown at you, we decided on this place in Leichhardt. The booking process was super simple. It just took a few clicks and hey presto, we’re good to go. The deal itself sounded pretty amazing – $95 for a 3 course meal for 4 including a glass of wine each ($220 value). Italian to me normally means either pizza or a quick pasta, however Martini is a finer celebration of everything else Italy has to offer.
My voucher arrived on the same day, & I was able to book it with ease. Some group buying affiliates only give you an option of days to choose from, however we were able to book whichever day we wanted. The only minor confusion was the street address didn’t match up. A quick call with the restaurant fixed this up, and I believe it’s because they’ve recently relocated.
Once we got to the restaurant, we were shown our table.The restaurant itself is situated on the ‘grown up’ end of Norton Street, nestled in amongst other restaurants, cafes and hotels. They’ve done a great job on the decor – red & white, which we all agreed was very chic.
They already knew we were using a group deal, so I just discreetly handed over the voucher, and our waiter explained the deal. We could choose anything from the entrees, anything from the mains bar the steak and could share any dessert between two. Those who are worried about being embarrassed about using a group deal need not worry, I’m sure no one else saw the exchange. Glancing down at the menu, we all realised that choosing was going to be the hard part. There was a great selection of both individual & shareable entrees, a variety of mains and the small but substantial selection of dessert options looked out of this world. And not a pizza in sight!
I chose the Insalata Caprese ($12) while my hubby opted for the Polenta Croccante ($13).
Both of these were amazing. The fresh vine ripened tomato and mozzarella were perfectly set off by the tang of the apple balsamic. It’s possibly the best Caprese I’ve had, and It’s one of my fave dishes to order. The polenta was also amazing. My hubby loved every bite, which is weird because he doesn’t usually like fennel. He described it as ‘up scale chips’ so there you go, folks! Actually, I was impressed most by the fact that everything on the menu seemed like comfort food all prettied and fancied up. Something different, while still feeling like ‘home’.
Claudia chose the mozzarella & saffron arancini ($6 for 3 pieces) and her hubby settled on the bruschetta ($3 for 1)
The arancini was perfectly crunchy on the outside (I should know, I sneaked a bite!) and moist and gooey on the inside. Ever wondered what an arancini version of cheese and bacon balls would taste like? Enough said. The bruschetta was more fancy than usual, and the tapenade with the cheese worked really well.
The mains come out in no time, and for a good 5 minutes no one is talking. This is a great sign. I chose the lamb rump, chickpea puree, beetroot and Mediterranean yoghurt Agnello ($27) while hubby chose the Garlic, chilli, calamari & fresh tomato tagliolini ($24).
My dish was amazing. The meat was cooked just perfectly, juicy and tender. The combination of chickpea, beetroot & yoghurt which is so Mediterranean was really yummy. I think I must have finished my plate in about 5 minutes flat. I would say the flavour combination was very similar to a traditional kebab. Again, homely cooking with a finer finish.
The pasta (of which I also stole a bit…seeing a theme?) was divine. Just the right amount of sauce to pasta, fresh calamari not at all stringy and strong flavours.
Claudia opted for the pea, zucchini & mint gnocchi ($23) while her hubby picked the Pork & fennel sausage and cherry tomato casarrace ($23)
Both the gnocchi and the pasta seemed hand made, which Claudia was very excited about. It’s disappointing to go out and find that the food is obviously packaged and not fresh. This was definitely fresh gnocchi and quite lighter than usual. Clauds managed to eat every last bit of this main as it was delicious. However, if you aren’t a huge fan of mint, this may be a bit strong for you. The casarecce (which is just about my favourite type of pasta now!) was also great. The flavour combinations were again familiar, but with a fresh twist.
Now with such a strong entree and main, we knew dessert was going to be something special. The deal meant it was one between 2, and both Clauds and I saw the chocolate on the menu, and our hubby’s had no chance. We ordered the Crostata Al Ciocollato (Praline crusted chocolate tart, white chocolate ganache, berries ($13). We were not disappointed. It’s crazy for me that this amazing dessert which is obviously made with so much love and care is cheaper than a mass produced Max Brenner waffle! Australia is sometimes a crazy country.
The praline tart was creamy and bitter, and the shell was baked perfectly. The white chocolate ganache was a perfect compliment and I’m sure I annoyed many diners by trying to scrape off every. last. morsel. ! Clauds mentioned that she would come back just for that tart alone. Our husband’s got to taste I think 1 fork’s worth by the time is was all gone.
So, there was our delicious meal at Martini thanks to Groupon! We were definitely not disappointed in either the booking process, the value or the food. We each commented that had it been $47 per person (as opposed to 2) we would still have been more than happy with what we got.
Overall: Amazingly fresh food, interesting flavour combinations, nice service and ambiance
Price: Very reasonable, especially for the quality. Seem to have some specials too, so check out their website.
Taste: Amazing. I can say this with some authority, as I tasted a lot of what’s on the menu
Decor: Very chic combination of red & white. It felt airy and uncluttered. Very comfortably spaced. Could use a little more touches of red, especially on the fireplace to really make it pop