27 May 2009

Caffe Martino

With Stinks in tow on this particular Thursday night, the Bloggers decided to avail themselves of a family orientated cheap pasta night at Caffe Martino.

It must be said we held no lofty expectations as we departed home with our usual 12 bottles of BYO wine. The night was a little breezy and the prospect of some good solid Italian food to warm the cockles was sitting well with the Bloggers.

Martino’s was relatively empty for a Thursday night on Beaufort Street and the Bloggers were seated with a minimum of fuss, complete with high chair for Stinks, who was more than a little excited at being allowed to stay up later than usual.

The menus presented by Martino were typical, with nothing terribly exciting or new catching the eye of any of the Bloggers (and we do know the Deliberator does peruse a menu at least three times over per visit). Starters ordered included squid, Italian sausage and garlic bread. Boring perhaps, yet in the Bloggers’ opinion, the simplicity of such dishes can be a great yardstick when measuring the worth of any Italian restaurant.

It was at this stage that the cracks began to show. There was no lemon served with either the Italian sausage or the squid. The garlic bread was dry and overcooked, although BOOTO was able to salvage small pieces to feed to Stinks, who it must be said is not fussy about what he eats (having come nightmarishly close to eating a cockroach recently).

Mains ordered included 2 x chicken parmagianas (the Sponge and Deliberator of course), Gnocchi (Brains), the fish of the day (BOOTO) and of course, the obligatory bowl of chips for the table.

Brains’ gnocchi was well presented and although she’s had fresher pasta, all in all the dish was bland, but satisfactory. The Sponge and Deliberator could also make no certain complaints with regards the chicken parma, although given it is a dish they regular partake of, they were well able to declare that it “okay”. Breaths were held in anticipation of BOOTO’s fish of the day (salmon), however this was soon replaced with disappointment. The term “home made” can conjure up images of a real Italian experience, but in this instance, home made came in the form of a plate of grilled salmon and slightly wilted salad (minus any dressing). Being someone who keeps on top of her omega 3 intake, BOOTO was, to say the least, quite disappointed with the lack of flair shown in this dish – with a price tag of $37.00, one does expect a little of evidence of effort.

Now as you read this review, you may be excused for thinking the Bloggers had set their expectations too high prior to dining at Caffe Martino, but indeed we had not. We were quite ready for the Sienna style no frills cheap pasta night and although we do think a little lemon with the entrees ordered together with a drizzle of dressing on one’s salad or even the offer of cracked pepper and parmesan cheese is not too much to ask of a restaurant (particularly when you consider this restaurant was more than half empty on this given Thursday night), it was upon presentation of the bill that we realised Caffe Martino has a very high opinion of itself.

For the night’s decidedly average food, we were met with the sort of figure you come to expect when having dined on tasty, inventive food in ambient surrounds that appear to have been redecorated in the last 15 – 20 years. Alas, the Bloggers had dined at Caffe Martino and paid the princely sum of $50.00 a head for shared starters and pretty basic mains.

In summary

Service: Not bad, but then again the place was half empty. Points off however for not offering either cracked pepper or parmesan. We must note however that despite being the last patrons in the restaurant, we were not hurried along.

Food: Just “okay”. Nothing set the world on fire and old favourites were not done exceptionally well either. The Bloggers could probably forgive this if the prices were reflective of the quality of the food.

Ambience: Outdated d├ęcor with a very family feel to it (i.e. you wouldn’t get worried about Stinks spilling food on the floor or making too much noise).

Highlight: The bowl of chips were much to the liking of both the Deliberator and Stinky. But even they came in at a princely sum of $8 for McCains quality. No hand cut chips here.

Lowlight: The prices.

Rating: 2.5 not so cheap fish of the day out of 5

Will we be back: Probably not. There are many family friendly, reasonably priced Italian restaurants in the area with much better food than that offered at Caffe Martino.

Details: Caffe Martino is situate at 550 Beaufort St Mt Lawley WA 6050 and is open from Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6pm to 11pm. Bookings can be made on (08) 9328 4400.

Caffe Martino on Urbanspoon


Barry said...

I think you guys are great, but you don't pay out on the Deliberator enough. He sounds like a right tool.

Anonymous said...

Spot on. I had the misfortune of dining there once. We were placed at a table covered in crumbs topped by a stained tablecloth. Staff made no attempt to clear the crumbs until the starters arrived at the table.

Food was so-so.

The Cooking Professor said...

Caffe Martino is one of those places that I wonder about. How in the hell do they (and Mykonos and quite a few others) survive? They charge marginally less than quite good places, so why go there? There are restaurants that charge much the same but which disappear that are just so much better (like Seven Seas). It's a mystery.

Dave said...

I haven't been there in years but sounds just like I remember it - except the half empty bit! Never understood how it was always full with such ordinary food - I could understand if it was cheap like Sienas. I went a few times and on all but one occasion they burnt/overcooked our pizzas.

Anonymous said...

Strange. I always consider Martinos like Sienas - cheap, cheerful and packed to the gills.

A bit like early Pizza Hut.

Of course, I usually go on (what was) $10 pizza night, and there does seem to be a distinct sense of enthusiasm for it among my friends these days.

It's certainly not a $50 place.
You should have grabbed an entertainment book and used to the coupon too.

(I'm waiting for you to so Saigon now, too, having eaten there recently.)

Anonymous said...

You have been very generous with your comments. From my experiences the place is terrible, food and service. You must have had a lucky night!

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