Machiavelli Restaurant is a Sydney institution which opened its doors in 1988 and has a following from political power brokers, media magnates and captains of industry. In fact, adorning the walls of Machiavelli, are portraits of politicians and the nation’s wheelers & dealers to add to the power lunching experience.
Recently, Machiavelli opened a small wine bar (a more casual sort of place) in the city called Mach II and given Machiavelli is “all about business”, I decide to use Mach II as the venue to celebrate with someone, the recent closing of a successful corporate transaction.
We make our way into the city on what is cold night and we find ourselves at Mach II and we are escorted by the waiter to the underground bar, where all the action is. I love the warm homely setting and we settle in to our seats and get ready to order.
2012 Melini Chianti
I suggest going for a bottle of the Chianti, however my dining companion suggests drinks by the glass are a much more sensible option. I tend to agree… let’s have a slow start to night. The Melini is good, a very drinkable wine with beautiful violet aromas and the rich taste of cherries and raspberries on the taste buds. I am already loving this place.
We toast to our commercial successes and then discuss our upcoming travel plans. She is off to the U.S.A and I am about take on the European summer. I realise we worked on our first transaction together six years ago…. we reflect on some fun experiences had since, such as the time we travelled together and enjoyed a beautiful lunch in the Qantas First Class Lounge and then missed each other in New York due to a fiasco involving a friend’s wedding dress. There are plenty of fond memories to relive.
Anyway, back to the food, this place does little share plates so we decide to order some food to ensure a well-paced evening.
Arancini – Saffron Rice Balls with Truffle Mayonnaise and Parmiggiano
We actually order two of these (one set is not pictured). The first set has meat and peas filling with the rich parmiggiano cheese layers through the rice. The rice is coloured a beautiful light orange from the saffron. Its a typical arancini with the crispy outside coating, the rich cheese fillings and the texture of the soft rice. It’s a comfort dish to forget about winter. The next arancini we have is a standard one with just a rich parmiggiano cheese filling.
Selection of the House Cheese with Manuka Honey and Warm Marinated Olives
Let me go through the cheese board….
The Soft Blue Cheese is rich and creamy with a buttery texture, while the salty bitter blue veins shines through to define the cheese. It has a sticky taste sensation in the mouth and you can certainly taste its richness. The sheep’s milk Pecorino is hard, crumbly with a lovely buttery and nutty flavour. The final cheese is the Parmiggiano which has a very sharp, savoury taste with mild fruit and nut hints in the flavour. The crumbly grainy texture of this cheese also provides a beautiful taste sensation.
The last two cheeses are best eaten by rubbing a piece with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. That way the cheese releases its full flavour with all the oils making their way through every taste bud.
The platter also comes with a Manuka Honey, which offers some sweetness to the rich savoury flavours. The soft blue cheese and the Manuka Honey is quite the taste contrast. I love it. There are also some Candied Walnuts with a beautiful sweet and spice flavoured coating, which make it easy to nibble on as the conversation continues. The Olives are warm and have a lovely distinct “mediterranean” taste, but it is difficult to eat with pits.
Salt and Pepper Calamari with Chopped Chilli
The calamari is succulent with its crispy coating of the batter providing a beautiful contrast. The chopped chilli adds some zest and spice to cut through the calamari while the creamy aioli places an additional layer of richness to the dish.
The Chianti and the conversation continues to flow effortless… I am starting to think this place is a bit like my new home. I hope Mach II will become an institution in its own right. We eventually call it a night and make our way out, impressed with the venue and looking forward to our upcoming travels.