You may know Martin Place Bar as the busy tavern or watering hole found right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. What you may not know is that this family-owned business has recently undergone a renovation and makeover and that they’re totally committed to selling good food. This is reflected in a menu that boasts lots of locally-sourced produce, tasty superfoods and home-made items (like sauces, terrines and pâtés).
The AU Review recently sat down to dinner at Martin Place Bar to sample a menu that is changed every four months to reflect items that are in season. The kitchen team have been together for five years and they work a tight ship and execute a seamless production. Events manager and owner, Karen Anderson has recently worked with the chefs and challenged them to employ new techniques in their cooking. This has meant that popular mainstays in any bistro (like chicken schnitzels, pies and burgers) are now served alongside Corned beef (which was introduced for St. Patrick’s Day and proved so popular that it had to stay) as well as more innovative dishes that make use of thermomixes and dehydrators, to name a few.
From 4PM until late Martin Place Bar serve a series of tasty bar snacks. These items have proven popular with families visiting the area, especially during the Vivid light festival. To begin, we had the prawn tostadas topped with guacamole and tomato salsa ($12). “Tostada” means “toasted” in Spanish and this saw a gluten-free tortilla chip topped with a luscious king prawn and lots of fresh ingredients. It would have been perfect to nibble on on a hot, summer night.
The pumpkin & thyme arancini balls with lemon aioli ($10) were a yummy, vegetarian option. The crispy, crumbed casing was very tasty. The mini pulled pork burgers ($12) are usually served with shoestring fries. They were small but very flavoursome and had a creamy sauce and a nice little sesame seed bun that proved rather hearty.
The venue also offer a gorgeous charcuterie board with cured meats, pork & veal terrine, chicken pâté, marinated olives, goats cheese & cornichons, bread & grissini ($24) that is perfect to share, graze and nosh on. The grissini and toasted Turkish bread worked well with the goat’s cheese and the chicken pâté is famous amongst customers. The terrine was divine while thick pieces of salami were served alongside bitter gherkins and thin slices of salty meat (in this case, prosciutto). This was like a smorgasbord of different flavours, just as the grapefruit, passionfruit and lime mocktail fused together different tastes (in this case, citrus and sweetness).
There are some meals that Martin Place Bar serve all day. The char-grilled “Northern Rivers” Rib Eye with potato mash or fries and garden salad and red wine jus ($35) is one such one. This steak was cooked to perfection and had a heavenly, smoky bite to it while the greens were luxurious and fresh. This main is the most expensive on the menu and it offers a little luxury to the discerning meatlover as it can hold its own amongst some of Sydney’s best steaks.
For those customers wanting a seafood option, they need look no further than the “Cone Bay” Barramundi with cauliflower purée, chat potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes and crispy leek ($25). This dish is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds will enjoy the well-blushed tomatoes, the leek which was nicely caramelised and the white barramundi flesh which had a lovely sweetness to it. Another excellent main was the corned beef with buttered carrots, potato mash, Velouté sauce and piccalilli ($18) . The glossy carrots shone and crunched while the mash was smooth and the traditional, white sauce was made from a roux sauce and the broth of the beef. The meat itself was from the eye fillet and was so pretty in pink. It was a meal you’d love to sink your teeth into on a cold, winter’s night.
Similarly, the warm rhubarb crumble cake with vanilla ice-cream and strawberry coulis ($12) was an elegant finish. The tartness of the rhubarb combined well with the sweetness of the coulis and the moist cake. This dessert worked well with a hot coffee or tea (($3.50) by Single Origin) or could even be enjoyed with a rich and sweet Spanish sherry like a Barbadillo Pedro Ximenez (one warning: this is like drinking pure velvet).
Martin Place Bar has a warm, appealing and exciting atmosphere. It is the place to go to for a good, clean, accessible and delicious meal in a pleasant bistro. It also boasts a fine drinks selection (the venue also has a quieter cocktail room at the back where craft beers are sold for customers wanting something a little more personal and intimate).
The venue has undergone a transformation and reinvention over the past 12-18 months and appreciates that customers want choice, whether it be healthier options with superfoods, locally-sourced and more ethical produce, vegetarian offerings and even gluten-free foods. This kind and inviting place can suit just about anyone – from a small family on an outing; to friends wanting to watch sport; to large office groups (who have the option to pre-order meals in advance). In short, the Martin Place Bar has proven that the chefs and owners are passionate about their food and you can tell that they want you to enjoy and share in their enthusiasm.
Martin Place Bar
Address: 51 Martin Place (corner of Elizabeth St)
Contact: 02 9231 5575
Hours: Monday to Friday from 9am til late and on Saturdays from 10pm til late.
Originally published on 18 May 2015 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/lifestyle/eat/martin-place-bar-cbd-sydney
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