If Popolo was Flavio Carnevale’s childhood upbringing in Basilicata, Marta is his Roman adulthood.
“It’s where the first decade of my restaurant and bar career began,” says the restaurateur. “I want to bring that Roman feel to Sydney.
Opening in mid-September, Marta will take over Popolo’s former leafy premises in Rushcutters Bay as Popolo relocates to its new city digs.
Thankfully, you won’t have to wait until then to get a taste of the new cucina Romana - Marta will be offering a primer at the upcoming Italian Wine and Food Festival happening in Sydney on Sunday 27 August. Expect a sneak peek of the menu in the way of suppli; the arancini’s longer cousin is a croquette of rice, mince and mozzarella. You'll also get aquainted with the agnello porchettato, a focaccia stuffed with rolled lamb porchetta and Roman lettuce.
If you think you know Roman food, think again: Yes, there’s cacio e pepper and tirimasu on the menu but when Marta opens its doors come Spring, Flavio and his team will be cranking out little-known street foods liked baked anchovies with sautéed curly endive, bucatini mussels with tomato and pecorino and fried gnocchi.
Don’t expect to see much of Popolo in here, either – the space has been completely renewed to reflect Rome’s chequered streetscape.
“The diversity is part of Roman culture, where it’s common to find a politician beside a student in a neighbourhood osteria,” says Flavio. As such, there’s a communal table for big families, intimate seating for couples, a bar area for drop-ins and a courtyard for sun-seekers.
And, like any self-respecting Roman establishment, there’ll be a dedicated spritz menu for when apperitivo hour strikes.
“Amphora wines will play a feature role at Marta,” Flavio adds, “with wines poured from my custom handmade terracotta decanters to take the wines back to their original element.”
When in Rome…
Marta is opening mid September: 50 McLachlan Ave, Rushcutters Bay, NSW. They will also be appearing at the Italian Wine + Food Festival - Sunday 27 August, the Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney.