Howard Chen
15th Oct 2023

Circular Quay seems to be getting most of the newest restaurant openings in Sydney, and Martinez is its latest addition by the House Made Hospitality group. The concept is an al fresco terrace with its own menu and a dining area sitting inside Quay Quarter. The menu is developed by executive chef Alex Wong, one of NSW's chef of the year nominees for Lana last year and head chef Andrea Sonnante from Sagra, and draws inspiration from the French Riviera and Mediterranean while highlighting local produce.

Finding this place is a bit of a chore, the address is somewhat convoluted so it's almost like an unintentional speakeasy. Look for a big Quay Quarter sign on the wall across the road from Lana and you'll see the dedicated lift up to Martinez. 

Starting with the terrace, it's a very nice space with a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It can get a bit windy so keep that in mind if you bring loose items, but the space works well for a quick lunch or after work drinks. I came here on a separate day to try the $26 Martinez wagyu burger and I can safely say it's one of the best burgers in the CBD. Though I could do without the lettuce, it's a bit of a marriage between the burgers at Hubert and Clam Bar for a nice compromise if you like either of those.

The dining area is nice albeit a bit awkward, most likely due to Quay Quarter's setup more than anything. It feels kind of like a hotel atrium since it's not really private, and where I was seated the chairs are just a bit too close together so when staff walk by they may bump your seat more than once. 

But let's focus on the food.

Provençal cuisine is known for freshness and the use of garlic, olive oil and native herbs. Though I've dined on the Italian Riviera and Dalmatian Coast, I've never been to the French Riviera so I'm not one to comment on the restaurant's authenticity here, but to comment on the deliciousness level, I can do that in spades.

We ordered:

$10 ea - Scallop Cru - raw scallop, white soy, fennel pollen

$14 ea - Oursinade Scallop - scallop, sea urchin butter, espelette

$28 - Crab remoulade - poached spanner crab crumpet, chervil

$33 - Gnocchi Parisienne - pan fried choux pastry, native herb pistou, goats curd


MP - Écrevisses - chilled freshwater yabbies, condiments

$285 - Côte de boeuf - Rib eye MBS 5+ with condiments and 2 sides (below)

Pomme dauphinoise - potato and spicy cabbage gratin

Leeks en vinaigrette - poached leeks, verjus, mustard

$18 - Vacherin baked meringue, green apple, coconut, pistachio

$12 - Madeleines - warm sponge cake, yuzu

The seafood snacks are excellent. I'm a fan of sea urchin with anything so between the two I preferred the oursinade, but both have very enjoyable flavours. The crab remoulade was a rich yet light dish, I do think the crumpet could have been a bit airier but it's an incredibly tasty dish and a must order. The yabbies were soft and delicate and went well with the sauce.

The Parisian gnocchi was cooked well and had a nice texture, but my palate is a bit hypersensitive to tartness so these were just a bit on the tart side for me to fully enjoy it. I wouldn't be against ordering it again though.

The Côte de boeuf is the best steak I've had from any restaurant that opened in 2023. Cooked to perfection with a great fat ratio, I very much enjoyed eating this. It comes with two sauces: a miso butter and a red wine jus. I preferred the former but it's really down to personal preference. As for the sides, I liked the leeks a bit more than the gratin, again it comes down to my hypersensitivity to tartness and the kimchi mixed in with the potato leant a little too tart for my liking.

For the desserts, I normally don't order meringue desserts but this one was great, the apple and coconut shine through and were very good. The madeleine itself was nicely made, but again the yuzu was just too tart for my palate.

Overall it's a great entry to Circular Quay if you're focusing on the food, and I'll most certainly be back for the burger and really don't think you can go wrong with any seafood or beef dishes.