Inspired by the streets of Rome for the neighbourhood of Rushcutters Bay, Sydney’s dedicated cucina Romana MARTA opens nextTuesday, 10 October.
After running the McLachlan Avenue space as Popolo for five years, owner-operator Flavio Carnevale has shifted the focus from southern Italy to Rome to launch his second restaurant, MARTA.
MARTA embodies the colour and personality of Roman osterias, adding a distinct regional stamp on Sydney’s thriving Italian dining scene. Born from Flavio’s experiences working in Roman hospitality, every detail of MARTA, from the menu and drinks list to the aesthetic, has been thoughtfully curated to reflect the attitude of Rome’s famed eateries.
The Roman-style menu is uniquely expressive of the history, Jewish influence and geography of the Italian capital. The recipes and a traditional settimana romana – a weekly calendar of daily specials – are drawn from Flavio’s 10-year residency in Rome, served under the stewardship of head chef Christuan Jordaan.
The Roman accent is mirrored on the wine list, which pays focus to the current generation of winemakers from the surrounds of Rome and central Italy. By the glass, guests will find Laziali grape varieties personally sourced by Flavio and unique to MARTA such as bombino bianco from L’Olivella, biodynamic thymos bianco from Monti Cecubi and organic malvasia puntinata from Pampini. Select wines will be poured from custom handmade amphora decanters from Studio Enti and Little White Dish.
Cocktails and snacks can now be enjoyed at the sleek wrap-around zinc bar, offering a spread of boutique Italian vermouth, bitters and gin for MARTA’s range of spritz and negroni.
Melbourne’s DesignOffice has curated a diverse fit-out, characteristic of Roman culture. A long communal table is perfectly placed for large families and celebrations; intimate tables for everyday guests; bar seating for drop-ins; and a sun-kissed courtyard for leisurely dining. The space has been transformed to incorporate a raw, natural aesthetic with a mix of leather, oak and green marble.
“We wanted to capture the confidence and energy of Roman restaurants,” says designer Mark Simpson. “The interior has been opened up and layered with a fresh, textural and tactile palette punctuated with accents in black and olive green. One of the major new features is a beautiful oak-topped high bench lined with forest green Italian marble, which faces the leafy piazza.”
The former southern Italian Popolo will breathe again in a new CBD location, slated to open in late-2018.
“When we envisioned MARTA, we honed in on that Roman piazza feeling where everybody knows everybody,” says Flavio. “We were looking at sites in the city for MARTA, but our concept kept bringing us back to Rushcutters Bay. It became an obvious fit.”
Address: 30 McLachlan Ave, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2010
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 5.30pm – late; Sunday 9am – late
Facebook: @martaosteria / MARTA Osteria