Martha Street Kitchen happened very quickly. Within days of Restaurant Rapide going on the market, Patrick Laws and partner Jennie Byrnes snapped it up.
“Two months ago we had no idea we would be doing this,” says Laws, who’s the head chef. “We got offered the space and I had the weekend to think about it before I had to come back and say, ‘Yes’.”
Speaking to Laws and Byrnes just a few days after a colossal opening weekend, they confess they are still learning as they go about running a restaurant. A huge benefit for them is an association with King Arthur's Josh Russell, who has played a large part in designing the space and the logo.
“It was like, ‘Who have we met along the way who’s aligned with everything that we love?’” says Byrnes. She met Russell while working at King Arthur. “[Russell] did our fit-out because he’s just a jack-of-all-trades.”
Russell has created a simple, slick, modern space with wooden floorboards, black and white walls and a brick bar area. It’s unassuming, but when the space fills up and the music starts pumping, it comes alive.
The menu deals in small plates, pizza and pasta, but there’s a reason the word “Italian” isn’t anywhere near Martha Street’s name. It serves what people are familiar with, but done differently – based on what Laws and Byrnes love to eat. There’s a beef-brisket pizza with smoked tomato, chorizo, corn and roasted onion. There’s linguini with mussels, sobrassada, garlic confit cream and chilli.
“We didn’t want [the name] to be ‘pizza’ or an Italian word,” says Laws. “I don’t want someone to come in and be like, ‘Oh this isn’t Italian, what are you doing?’”
The drinks menu follows suit. Laws’s love for Green Beacon Brewing means three of its beers are on offer. The wine list, compiled by Byres, is all-Australian bar one. The wines are also either certified organic or biodynamic and are no more than $12 a glass.
A small breakfast menu is offered on the weekends, matched with coffee from Sunday’s, Russell’s Sunshine Coast roastery and cafe. Laws fires up the pizza oven in the early hours of the morning to bang out a breakfast pizza with streaky bacon, fried eggs, tomato sauce and chives.
Martha Street Kitchen
1/4 Martha Street, Camp Hill
Dinner: Tue to Sun 4pm–late
Breakfast: Sat & Sun 8am–12pm