Madre - A slice of perfection.

Madre - 7 Gilbert St, Adelaide SA 5000

Though Gilbert Street is within the confines of the CBD, it is a relatively relaxed thoroughfare compared to the consistent bustle of traffic along King William. A local to this area of the city, I (Dani) have often wandered along its length in pursuit of coffee and Mylor pumpkin sourdough at Paddy’s Lantern, gin and a grazing platter at Prohibition, or a cheeky afternoon session of trying out the latest tap selections at the Gilbert Street Hotel. In recent weeks there has been a new, welcoming glow radiating out onto the pavement from the wood-framed windows of Madre – an exciting spin off from the crew behind Pizzateca.

Madre from Gilbert street

A long time fan of the McLaren Vale based restaurant, the news that their exceptional pizza would be within walking distance had me in a frisson of excitement. Since opening, they have introduced an online booking facility which I luckily used, and despite their almost secretive opening a couple of weeks ago, there were very few free tables when we arrived on a weeknight.

The restaurant welcomed us from the cool night air and into its arms with friendly grins from the waiters and laid-back blues tunes gently pouring from its record player (no Spotify here). As we were led to our table, the warm pinks and honey-coloured woods lining the restaurant walls deepened back into oceanic blues and an open kitchen featuring busy chefs, a roaring pizza oven and a statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded by dramatically dripping candles.

We started by whetting our appetites with an aperitif cocktail. The waiter knowledgeably enquired as to our martini preferences (gin, stirred, dry and dirty, if you please) and the resulting beverage was one of the finer examples I’ve had the pleasure of trying in quite some time. As we sipped at the silky, savoury liquid, we perused the menu. Madre offers a range of antipasto, montanere (small fried pizzas), morzilli (small pizza-bread sandwiches) frittura (fried appetisers), insalata (salads), siamo fritti (calzone), a pasta of the day and dal mare (‘from the sea’ – a dish of marinated octopus).

The main feature of the menu however, and why we are here, is the pizza. Madre’s pizza dough combines sea water imported from Italy, tipo 00 flour and a sourdough starter which has been fermenting since 2013. Unlike the dough of Pizzateca, which has a chewy, crisp finish to its crust; the dappled, air pocket-filled base which is served to our table is pillowy, light and utterly divine. The sauce is simply crushed, flavourful San Marzano tomatoes and the pizza is left uncut after leaving the oven. As my knife tears into the melting cheese and slight resistance of the dough, I experience something which I’m sure is akin to the feelings of those who are tasked with destroying a Buddhist sand mandala.

Marghertia pizza $21

The ‘Margherita’ is a symphony of simplicity. The acidic San Marzano tomato base perfectly complements the mild, creamy warmth of the melting fior di latte cheese and the scattering of basil creates a mouthwatering herbaceousness which bursts into each alternative bite.

Concetta pizza $27
We also try the ‘Concetta’ – pork sausage mince and long slices of fried eggplant, scattered across the leopard-like base and strewn in stringy, piquant scamorza cheese. Rich in contrast to the Margherita, the savoury pork and umami of the eggplant is lifted nicely by the aged, acidic bite of the cheese.

As I sip on a glass of Babo Sangiovese, which blooms from it’s 90% Chianti base with a sweet cherry-driven palate, I have no hesitations to nodding an affirmative to the waiter’s enquiry as to if we would like to see the dessert menu – despite having enthusiastically enjoyed an entire pizza already. As is my usual style when faced by a wavering indecision between dessert (‘dolce’ here) options, I just decided to order both.

Caprese Affagato $14

The Caprese Affogata is served with a shot of freshly brewed espresso, which is slowly drizzled over the simple decadence of the dark chocolate and almond flourless cake by our congenial waiter. The cake itself has a quite light crumb for an almond meal-based recipe, which helps it to soak up the coffee in an almost tiramisu-like fashion. Bitter-sweet diced orange zest bounces through the deep palate, but I feel that a dab of something creamy would have really helped this dessert to shine.

Rhum Baba $15

Then the Rhum Baba – my oh my! Homemade 36 hour naturally fermented baba, dark rhum syrup, house made custard diplomatica strewn with poached cherries. The baba itself is a baked web of light dough, upon which sticky sweet syrup sits like dew on a spiders web, rather than with the heavy moistness you’d find in a tiramisu or pudding. Nestled within it’s centre, the custard diplomatica (essentially a creme patissiere for those more familiar with the French terminology) has a creamy depth which smooths itself into each mouthful like a dairy-based velvet. The cherries give the dish a ‘black forest’ like aesthetic as their tartness mixes with the sweet cream and liquor-infused syrup.

Walking through Madre’s doors is accepting an invitation to an evening of indulgence of the senses. The tasteful decor, enthusiastic staff and, of course, the incredible food makes it easy to relax into an enjoyable evening, and I recommend that you book in to do so yourself sometime soon.

Ambiance: 4/5 - The modern interior, easy tunes and interesting eclectic touches (listen out for the Italian cinema track in the bathroom!) make for a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.
Service: 5/5 - Very attentive but not to the point of being intrusive.
Food: 9/10 - Madre's respect for traditional cooking techniques and ingredients is evident in their dishes, which demonstrate true artisanal skill.

In total OTCB gives Madre 18/20 chops On The Chopping Board.

Madre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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