Food News

Coming soon: Bright and breezy French Riviera diner Martinez arrives at Circular Quay

And Gourmet Traveller readers are invited to be the first to check it out next week.
Plates of food at Martinez in Sydney CBD. A steak, some scallops, grilled fish with pasta.

Spring’s most anticipated new opening is set to take over Circular Quay next month, but Gourmet Traveller readers have an exclusive invite to check it out ahead of opening at our reader dinner next Thursday. Purchase tickets here.

Martinez promises to bring South of France flair to Sydney’s Quay Quarter Tower this spring, courtesy of the House Made Hospitality team, who gave us Hinchcliff House and Promenade Bondi. You’ll find Lana chef Alex Wong overseeing the French Riviera-inspired menu as executive chef, joined by head chef Andrea Sonnante (ex-Sagra).

With an express elevator ride set to deliver diners to the elevated dining room, which promises harbour views from a sprawling outdoor terrace, Martinez will pull focus on the lighter side of French cuisine. “We want to take our diners on a colourful coastal escape,” says Sonnante, who says diners can expect bright and breezy dishes in place of heavier bistro fare. The flavours and flair of Provence, Nice and Saint Tropez will be on call, all executed using local seafood. “Australian seafood is incredible: Sydney rock oysters, marron and abalone.” These will be showcased alongside mussels, scallops and poached king prawns on an elegant plateau de fruits de mer.

Share plates will include forward-thinking take on a Niçoise salad, which will take raw slices of tuna, silky confit egg yolk, and vegetables dressed with tuna mayonnaise and white soy; while scallops will be grilled and doused in an unctuous sea urchin-spiked sauce.

The saffron Tagliatelle, red mullet, fennel pollen, yarra valley roe from the kitchen at Martinez.

While pasta doesn’t feature prominently on traditional French restaurant menus, Martinez will call upon its Mediterranean neighbours for influence – which is fitting given chef Sonnante’s time in the kitchen at much loved pasta palace, Sagra. “My background is Italian – and in the South of France they have an big influence from Liguria and use egg dough pastas – often long shapes that go well with seafood,” says Sonnante.

Taking this in you’ll find a vibrant saffron tagliatelle with red mullet, fennel pollen, salmon roe and a rich lobster butter sauce, which Sonnante hopes will become a signature.

Similar to Lana, expect to see a thoughtful peppering of Asian ingredients such as soy and yuzu dotted across the menu, but here they will provide more of a subtle bassline than making a star turn. “Alex’s experience with these ingredients is amazing. But they aren’t going to be the centre of each dish – they are seasonings,” says Sonnante.

The dining room will also have a 12-seat kitchen counter, serving the full menu; while the outdoor terrace will focus on more casual bites. The sprawling terrace bar promises to be a hot ticket come summer with views of Sydney Harbour, and will seat around 90 people with room for more people to stand and enjoy cocktails.

JOIN US FOR AN EXCLUSIVE FIRST-LOOK AT MARTINEZ

Join us on Thursday, September 21 at 6.30pm for our next Reader Dinner, in partnership with Oceania Cruises. Tickets are $140 per person, including a four-course menu with paired wines. Numbers are limited. Purchase tickets here.

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