After a series of strange coincidences involving the random discovery of connections between friends, clients and the chefs at Marque, I just knew it was where I had to take Zen on his birthday.

Thankfully Mark Best and Pasi Petanen are both savvy Twitterers, so I managed to book a table for two via a quick tweet!

We arrived prompty for our 7pm reservation and were greeted by Mark himself -who two nights ago was awarded (a very well deserved win of) Chef Of The Year.

We started with Marque’s signature beetroot macaron with foie gras. The meringue was light and airy and literally melted in my mouth the instant it touched my tongue. I love the beautiful decadent flavours of the foie gras left lingering behind. It was a dish Mark has thoughtfully shared with Centennial Parklands Dining, where I first fell in love with this dish and Brett Graham of The Ledbury, where I had a second encounter.

Marque Restaurant - beetroot meringue with foie gras
Beetroot meringue with foie gras

It was clear to Zen and I that we would be opting for the degustation tasting menu (eight course for $145 plus $75 for matching wines). Unlike other three-hatted restaurants, Marque does not bring out the degustation menu at the start. We were asked to list foods we were allergic to or didn’t like to eat and as simple as that, the party in our mouths begun.

For those wondering, you do receive a detailed personalised dated copy of every course and wine you ate and drank at the end of the meal. I think the anticipation it builds course after course is a rather ingenious touch.

First up was the classic molecular gastronomy example which Marque attributes to Alain Passard. It was a marvelous play on hot and cold as well as textures and taste. Each time we dug in the crisp grissini, a new flavour evolved. The playful mix of vinegar and apple cider left me buzzing for more.

Marque Restaurant - chaud-froid free range egg
Chaud-froid free range egg

I didn’t take a photo of the bread on this night as I was sure the eight courses would be enough food porn for one post. We were offered a white or my personal favourite (I had at least 2 slices of these), the rye and caraway seed bread. The soft chewy texture and the dark taste was accompanied with a lovely soft butter.

Then next Mark surprised us with a sea urchin custard with mandarin and green tea powder. The custard was light and fluffy. The subtle sprinkle of green tea powder was refreshing with the delicate sea urchin flavours. It was really a dish you had to close your eyes for to savour each and every taste.

Marque Restaurant - sea urchin custard with mandarin and green tea powder
Sea urchin custard with mandarin and green tea powder

The first course took on a whimsical approach to textures. There was a coarse powder (popcorn dust), slippery softness (almond jelly), foam (almond gazpacho, sweet corn) and something that pops (avruga), all which accentuated the natural sweetness of the hand picked blue swimmer crab.

Marque Restaurant - almond jelly with blue swimmer crab, almond gazpacho, sweet corn and avruga
Almond jelly with blue swimmer crab, almond gazpacho, sweet corn and avruga

When the second course was brought out, I was rather regretful I had failed to mention goats cheese in my list of foods I don’t enjoy. Regardless, I popped the bocconcini which let out a small burst of goats curd. The strong aroma quickly mixed with the slithers of mint, red onion and globe artichoke. The taste was clean and refreshing.

Marque Restaurant - fine salad of globe artichoke 'cru' with goat curd bocconcini
Fine salad of globe artichoke ‘cru’ with goat curd bocconcini

The presentation of the third course was visually intriguing. The button mushrooms were treated and sliced in such a way that they were unrecognisable. However, when tasted, the complete earthiness reveals the mushroom’s identity fairly instantly. The bitter vibrant red cubes of Campari were strong and mighty, adding oomph to each mouthful of the gorgeously steamed scampi.

Marque Restaurant - steamed scampi with fish floss, scampi anglaise, campari and turnip
Steamed scampi with fish floss, scampi anglaise, campari and turnip

After the third course, we received another treat from the kitchen. This crab custard with foie gras was one of the most spectacular things I’ve had to date. Perhaps because it’s appearance is understated. The saw dust texture on top was frozen foie gras. The rich creamyness and cold taste was strangely very well matched with the warm crab custard. It was so divine, words cannot describe.

Marque Restaurant - crab custard with foie gras
Crab custard with foie gras

Forth course was cured duck ham with jelly-like parmesan gnocchi, fresh and braised endive and duck liver. Although I absolutely adore seafood, at this stage, I was quite excited to be moving onto the meats! Overall, the different flavours made a delightful dish with the duck ham being the standout.

Marque Restaurant - duck ham with braised and fresh endive and parmesan
Duck ham with braised and fresh endive and parmesan

OMGosh. I didn’t realise it was possible to pair all of my favourite things into one. The pork jowl was slow cooked into a beautiful tender piece which had just the right amount of fat. The bed of spinach which hid the plump juicy oyster was an Asian inspired winner and the matchstick bundle of shaved truffle was even more flavoursome. I loved this course to bits!

Marque Restaurant - slow cooked pork jowl with spinach and pacific oyster
Slow cooked pork jowl with spinach and pacific oyster

Marque Restaurant - interior dining

Sixth course. Just look at how juicy the Angus sirloin is -it was seared to perfection. And served with onion three ways. There was the miniature croquettes, sliced with chive vinaigrette and pureed with a beautiful smokiness. Inbetween were also two dollops of blood sausage mousse.

Marque Restaurant - angus sirloin with boudin noir, onion croqeuettes and smoked onion puree
Angus sirloin with boudin noir, onion croqeuettes and smoked onion puree

I must have been so busy with eyeing the seventh course of Sauternes custard that I forgot to take a photo! The burnt caramel topping was delectably paired with the sweetness of the Sauternes custard.

And last but not least, roast pineapple in Szechuan pepper, orange and butter, served with chocolate soil and Manjimup truffle ice cream. The pineapple had a lovely malted texture with a hint of spice. I am undecided about the truffle ice cream, I may prefer keeping truffle within savoury dishes only. But the texture of the chocolate soil was both fun to look at and taste!

Marque Restaurant - caramelised pineapple with manjimup truffle ice cream
Caramelised pineapple with Manjimup truffle ice cream

We had our tea and coffee, some awesome salted caramel chocolates and bitter bon bons! The sugar coated bon bons burst to reveal an assortment of bitter liquers. I didn’t fancy the bitterness but the pinch of salt within the caramel chocolates were fantastic.

Marque Restaurant - Jennifer Lam aka jenius
Me

Marque Restaurant - Zen Huang's 26th birthday celebration
Zen, the birthday boy

A dinner at Marque is definitely a memorable fun filled adventure which tickles your taste buds and excites your imagination. Our wines were served by the sommelier assistant, Zoltan, who described like poetry where each wine came from and why it was paired. The service was just enough and the food was nothing short of spectacular. It was the perfect place to celebrate with a special someone.

Happy birthday Zen!

Marque on Urbanspoon

Marque Restaurant
Medina Apartment Building
4/5 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 9332 2225
Web: marquerestaurant.com.au

Previous articleTrip planning
Next articleSmiling Doughnuts (笑口枣)
Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
  • wow – food looks gorgeous!
    i wonder if they have a vego degu?

  • Yas

    The beetroot macarons look great, one can only hope the foie gras is ethically produced, rather than involving force feeding.

  • OMG everything looks fantastic!!! I’m booked in mid october, can’t wait!!!!

  • Hi Betty, I’m sure they could accommodate that! I hope you can eat seafood and egg though -wouldn’t want you missing out on too much 😉
    Hi Yas -ah yes. Foie gras is one of those ingredients you try not think about its source because it tastes so darn good.
    Hey Linda, look forward to reading and drooling over your post! 😀

  • i hope to visit this amazing looking place one day. 🙂

  • George

    Hello

  • Ok, it’s official, we’re going to Marque for my b’day next month. Thanks for the great update. Hope I can get a table….

  • Alice

    Love the new layout! Looks great! Need another Mamaks meal soon!