Located on The Parade, Martini Ristorante is the restaurant of choice for business people, locals and those wishing to experience authentic Italian cuisine with a creative twist. Like many upmarket Italian restaurants, the menu is divided into five different sections for each stage of the meal. At Martini, it’s not about quantity but quality, as Owner and Executive Chef, Larry Piscioneri, only uses the best possible local ingredients for the dishes he has perfected. He combines traditional Italian and modern cooking techniques to create the trademark that Martini is today. Adelaide Food Central was invited to sample the new Winter menu on offer. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
Today, we started off with the Capesante Agro Dolce which is seared scallops with chorizo, cauliflower puree and sherry vinegar. The scallops were juicy and succulent, and the chorizo had a lovely smokey flavour. The sherry vinegar had a combination of nuttiness and sweetness, which was balanced by the cauliflower puree. A unique and delicious dish to start off proceedings.
The Carpaccio Di Cervo is a house cured venison carpaccio with pedro xeminez dressing, shaved parmesan and porcini pannacotta. This dish certainly isn’t your typical carpaccio as it uses thinly sliced cured vension. The meat is covered in a dressing that has the sweetness of vinegar. This is balanced by the sharpness of the parmesan and the nuttiness of the smooth, creamy pannacotta.
A dish that I have at Italian restaurants, whenever possible, is the crab meat pasta. The version at Martini is the Fettucine Con Granchio. The ribbons of pasta are house made and cooked to perfection. The SA blue swimmer crab meat is generous and exudes a lovely sweetness. The fresh chilli used adds a burst of excitement with each bite. A very light and refreshing dish that is full of flavour.
The Gnocchi Al Ragu has fresh house made gnocchi, tender veal and tomato ragu topped with parmigiano. A great gnocchi is light like a pillow while still being firm and chewy. This was exactly that and would have to be the best gnocchi I’ve ever eaten. Of course, when combined with ragu, it was even better! The veal was tender and succulent, and the meat simply fell apart. Mixed all together in a rich tomato sauce, this was surprisingly good!
The Porchetta Al Forno is twice cooked slow roasted pork belly, roast quince, wilted radicchio and a pork glaze. Believe it or not, a lot can go wrong with cooking a pork belly, but this dish was executed to perfection. The pork belly was a good cut with very little fat. The meat was well seasoned, tender and succulent, and the crispy skin was to die for! The radicchio was mildly bitter but that was balanced out by the sweetness of the quince. The pork glaze was rich and full of flavour, bringing all the elements together.
I don’t normally talk about sides, but both the Insalata and Patate Fritte were on point. The Insalata was light and simple with a medley of fresh vegetables. The saltiness of the creamy curd was balanced by the sweetness of the tomato, onion and beetroot. The Patate Fritte were crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy in the centre. Seasoned with rosemary and sea salt, it’s a side that should be on every menu.
After all those dishes there was still room for dessert. The Bombolina Di Banana are Italian banana donuts with a Dutch chocolate filling, creme patisserie, caramel popcorn and popping candy. This is not the first time I’ve had this dessert but I must say that this version was the best I’ve had. The donuts were soft and spongy with a rich chocolate filling. The popcorn was firm and chewy, and the popping candy made the dessert come alive.
Next was the Creme Di Limoncello, a glass of limoncello cream curd, housemade honeycomb, strawberries, blueberries and toasted almonds. The appearance of this dessert would also pass as a breakfast item but don’t let that fool you. The limoncello cream curd is smooth, creamy and tart, and each bite gives you that burst of excitement which is like a party in your mouth. The tartness is balanced by the sweetness of the honeycomb and fruits, while the almonds adds a nice crunchy texture.
The dessert finale was the Martini Sotto Zero which is house made Baileys and scorched almond gelati with a shot of Baileys and a shot of Espresso. The gelati itself is worthy of being a dessert on its own; smooth and creamy in texture with the occasional crunchiness from the almond pieces. Add the Baileys and espresso and it truly becomes a dessert for adults.
For many years, Martini has had a reputation as an upmarket Italian restaurant offering food of an exceptional quality. After the amazing lunch today, we can verify that this is still true, but with the most expensive main at $34, this high quality experience is within everyone’s reach. Each and every dish that we had today was well presented and executed to perfection. Combine this with the intimate surrounds and the great service, and this makes Martini perfect for any occasion. If you need to visit a restaurant at least once in your life, this is it.
Martini Ristorante is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday from 12-3pm, and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30pm till late.
WHERE: 59A The Parade, Norwood