Restaurant Martini in Leichhardt is a first time finalist in the 2014 Inner West Local Business Awards but a veteran of Norton Street’s food strip. Here we chat to head chef Emmanuel Citton about food and what it feels like to be part of the awards…
How does it feel to be a finalist in the local business awards?
I’m excited to be a finalist in the awards. It hasn’t sunk in completely yet and feels a little surreal. I didn’t know what to expect when I registered this year and just thought why not as it was our first year doing so.
You’ve been a part of Leichhardt’s food scene for many years now, can you tell us a bit about how Martini started out?
Martini originally started in the Palace Cinema complex as a pizzeria, restaurant and bar to service the cinema goers. As the restaurant’s reputation grew it became a household name and the place for functions, to watch the World Cup and European Cup and a place to meet for a drink and a great meal. In July 2012 Martini closed its doors in the cinema complex and reopened at its current location on Norton Street where, with a great menu and the efforts of wonderful floor staff, the restaurant has been honoured with this great achievement.
What would you say is the food philosophy in the Restaurant Martini kitchen?
I like to keep things simple when it comes to food, allowing the food to speak for itself naturally, with a bit of help from me of course. Basically we aim to produce food that tastes good, is clean looking on your plate, made with fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Australia has an abundance of quality produce all round; my menus change seasonally with daily specials to get the best out of it.
What are the most popular dishes?
Our most popular dish would have to be the house made pappardelle with the ragu of the day. The slow cooked melt-in-your-mouth lamb shoulder is great too and for dessert, the spiced date pudding.
What sets you apart from other local eateries?
I prepare everything in the kitchen myself and I try to emphasise our pastas as all the pasta I cook is freshly handmade by me, which is rare to find in the restaurant industry. Then there’s that extra something special I add to all food: love and passion!
Do you have a message you’d like to get out to the customers who have voted for you this year?
Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to all our wonderful customers who voted for us, without you we wouldn’t have made it this far. Also, thank you to my work colleagues and to my family and friends for all the support you have given me throughout. again.”
Restaurant Martini: 148 Norton St, Leichhardt. T. 9568 3344, www.martinibar.com.au.