A marketing coordinator that enjoys reviewing in her spare time. Living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney - on the brink of something fabulous!
Published November 23rd 2011
I know a lot of my friends have been waiting anxiously to hear my thoughts and see my photos from my dinner at Marque. I apologise for the delay.
I recently read a blog that explained that the name is pronounced (Mark-ee) but when we arrived, we where welcomed to (Mark) so, I guess it is Marque (pronounced Mark) after all.
The restaurant is small with the dining room divided into two. The smaller section can be curtained off and presumably used for private functions.
The entire restaurant was well air-conditioned and actually a little chilly at times.
If you sat in the middle of the restaurant you were either at a table that faced the windows, faced the kitchen or faced the wall. However the wall was covered by a mirror, allowing you a better view of the restaurant.
The interesting and different things I noticed about Marque include; 1. The sliding door to the kitchen and sliding door before the heavy pull door by the entry of the restaurant. 2. The constant clapping that can be heard from the kitchen. Presumably to indicate that dishes were ready/were needed for service.
3. The $5 surcharge per person for still water.
The wine menu was quite expensive in my opinion. I had recently dined at Quay where more affordable bottles were also offered. However, at Marque, the cheapest bottle was over $80.
The menu online differed slightly from what we were given on the night, but nothing drastic. What was interesting though, is that we arrived and were seated, and soon enough later the first dish arrived. We were given no menu and no explanation as to how many courses or what food we would be receiving. We were merely asked if we had any food allergies or eating guidelines that the chef should be informed of.
It was not until the end of the meal that we were given the menu. Instead, we were given a short explanation of each dish as it was presented in front of us and told when our last savoury dish had arrived and when the meal was over.
We began with a Beetroot Granita with Foi Gras and Four Spices. Whilst the rest of my family found this interesting and ate it in entirety, the flavours really didn't appeal to me and I found it off putting and couldn't eat it at all.
Next up was the Almond Jelly with Blue Swimmer Crab, Almond Gazpacho, sweet Corn and Avruga. It was unanimously our favourite dish. The flavour combinations and multiple textures were fantastic and I all but licked the plate to savour it all.
Finally, we were served some bread (which would have been excellent more towards the beginning of the meal, but who are we to refuse any food!) There were two varieties on offer, a sour dough and a rye. I sampled both and the sour dough was decidedly better.
Our next dish was a Bass Grouper with Polenta, Buddha's Hands, Witlof and Vadouvan. This was lovely and we thought it was actually scallop when it when it came out, it was round in shape and looked very soft. The fish was moist and and the dish was flavoursome.
Then we were given the Glenloth Pigeon with Duck Liver, green strawberries, beer and fennel. Definitely one of the most interesting dishes. Although I think I would have preferred to find out what this one was after I had eaten it. Knowing I was eating pigeon was difficult. I wasn't taken with the texture of either meet and whilst the flavour of the pigeon was pleasant, I don't particularly like the flavour of liver. The green strawberries were odd and unique. They looked like off colour strawberries but tasted like pickles. I believe that the talent of the chefs in hatted restaurants is to take foods that diners don't usually eat/like and transform them into something amazing that tastes incredible. I don't think Mark Best and Pasi Petanen pulled it off here unfortunately.
The last savoury course was the Blackmore Grain Fed Wagyu with beef tendon, wasabi and spring peas. I found this dish to lack in flavour and to be quite fatty. There was nothing stand out about it. The peas were nice but the wasabi flavour was a bit odd (it wasn't hot at all).
After this, we were offered an optional cheese course - Brunet with Button Mushrooms, Orange and Coffee. None of our party of four opted in,
Next was the first dessert, the Sauternes Custard. This is served in a neatly opened and emptied egg shell and is rather nifty (thought a bit bitter). The custard part, underneath the burnt caramel liquid is a great texture, light and sweet. We were discussing how the egg would have been so neatly opened and the waiter kindly brought us over the contraption they use. It is quite easy with this, it just pops the top off!
The meal finished with a Petit Fours Board of salted caramel chocolate, lemon drop and bitter bon bons. We were instructed to start with the sweet lolly and make our way through the sour and salty to the bitter lolly. This would inform our palate that we were finished eating. The sweet lolly was fine. The sour was a sour liquid in a white chocolate thin coating (it was very sour). The salted caramel was very strong and offensive in taste and the bitter drop was alcoholic and very bitter in flavour with a light sugar coating. I definitely knew I was finished eating.
All in all, I wasn't enthused with Marque - especially for $150 a head. In my opinion, spend the extra $15 and get the smaller option at Quay. The view is better, the service is equal if not better and the food is miles ahead.
I've checked Marque off my list now though and though I wouldn't go back, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to go.