Marque

355 Crown Street,

http://www.marquerestaurant.com.au

Friday lunch: This was a tough reservation to get. On the answer-phone it says they’re now accepting bookings in November. It took me a month of calling every Thursday seeking cancellations before they finally gave me a table. And it’s easy to see why the restaurant is so popular. It’s a 3 hat place with a $45 lunch and it recently garnered an 18/20 review from the Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s a nicely understated restaurant too, without a fancy view to distract from the food. The tables are well sized and well spaced so it creates a nice relaxed vibe, which comes through in the service. I did expect a more formal experience, but I guess this is not what Australian dining is all about (no bad thing) and it didn’t distract from what is a confident operation.

The normal menu runs to $95 for 3 courses including all the additional extras: amuse-bouche etc. Our fixed menu was pared down, but we got the full experience for half the price.

 

Arpege Egg

Arpege Egg

First up as the pre-starter was the ‘Arpege egg’. This is a homage to Alain Passard’s restaurant in Paris where Mark Best has worked. It’s a softly simmered egg layered with whipped cream, sherry vinegar & maple syrup. I’ve eaten the one in France and this was just a little less subtle than the original with the sweet, salty, hot & cold flavours not quite working in unison. The grissini didn’t really work either, since it’s not entirely effective at soaking up liquid. However there are far worse ways to begin a meal.

 Sydney week4 018

The bread was good, especially the sourdough – a nice chewy crumb with a crust that demanded some considerable mastication.

 

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

The entrée itself was a deconstructed Ceasar salad; my favourite kind of salad with the contrast of textures & strong flavours. The presentation made it more interesting than it had any right to be and pay more attention to what you’re eating – the shredded egg, the crumb and glorious fat caper. I’ve been known to ask for additional garlic in the Caesar dressing, but couldn’t really complain with such a well delivered dish. 

 

Mulloway with cucumber, yoghurt & charcoal potatoes

Mulloway with cucumber, yoghurt & charcoal potatoes

The main course maintained the momentum with a pan-roasted mulloway fillet served with that classic combination of cucumber, yoghurt and boiled potatoes. The twist here was the ‘charcoal’ potatoes which rocked. The potatoes were apparently rolled in ash after cooking then covered in squid ink. We were not the only enquiring table. The fish was beautiful – really crisp skin with succulent flesh. Just like the entrée, it was a simple plate of food executed with verve and a bit of imagination.

 

Sauterne custard & Caramel

Sauterne custard & Caramel

A pre-dessert was then presented – a Sauterne custard with caramel. It was faultless – rich, creamy, sweet with dark, indulgent hit of burnt sugar. It needed a bit of portion management to ensure the right mix of custard to caramel with every small spoonful…. I would have happily had this for this dessert.

 

Marshmallow with citrus fruits & lychee sorbet

Marshmallow with citrus fruits & lychee sorbet

The dessert itself didn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the rest of the meal. The marshmallow was good, but in my mind it didn’t quite marry with the lychee sorbet and I found the strands of the citrus fruit a bit irritating to eat. Too tough to cut, too messy to eat as it was.

The meal was capped with a good coffee and very now, salted caramels. More caramels were also provided without question to prevent further squabbling.

This was overall an excellent meal. At $45 for 5 courses. I’ve had very few meals which provided as good as value for money. There’s interesting cooking happening here and unlike the comparative lunch mundanity of Est there was a lot on display to make me want to return.  The lunch menu changes on a weekly basis, which is good if you can get a regular table. But I’ll be back for dinner where I’m sure more unusual/expensive ingredients will be made to shine

 8/10

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3 Responses to “Marque”

  1. reemski Says:

    I really enjoyed the degu at Marque and love how inventive and challenging his food is.

  2. foodmiles Says:

    I’m counting the days till I can get back there. I will be trying the tasting menu and will duly blog it

  3. Michael Wayne Says:

    definitely will pay a visit next time, this restaurant looks amazing

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