Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Best Friday Prix Fixe Lunch @ Marque

Mark Best worked as an electrician in the WA goldmines until the age of 25, when he discovered his passion in cooking while he helped out at a mate’s restaurant. He followed through his passion by studying commercial cookery and travelling overseas to work in a number of notorious establishments, including the three Michelin star L’Arpège in Paris.

Mark opened Marque in 1999 and it held the prestigious three hats status for seven consecutive years from 2007 to current. Marque is amongst the handful of Australian restaurants to be awarded S. Pellegrino World’s best restaurants, currently ranked at number 61. You can see why Marque has been lingering on the top of my wish list. 

When it came to deciding where to take my family (which includes my gorgeous niece Baby C, currently 16 months old) during their short visit in Sydney, Marque’s Prix Fixe is the first thing that came to mind. Marque’s Prix Fixe is a three-course set menu offered at Friday lunchtimes only. You don't get to make any choices but you do get a good taste of Mark’s creativity and talent. The best thing is it only costs $45 pp – what a steal!

Worthy to note is that they charge $5 pp to support their chilled, filtered, carbonated water system which aims at reducing the use of bottled water. Personally I think it’s a great idea, especially for a restaurant of this calibre, to boldly state the purpose for the additional charge so that we can reconsider the need for and the environmental impact of bottled water in fine-dining restaurants. They have on offer still or sparkling water – the still water had a slightly sweet spring water taste to it. 

After we are seated we are handed the menu detailing today’s Prix Fixe (which is different to the one on their website as the menu changes on a weekly basis), as well as a sample degustation should we decide to revisit for dinner. Our waiting staff gave us time to examine the menu and advise of any dietary requirements. Once that is done a melody of extraordinary food is brought to us with a brief description.

The Breakthrough Award from Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2010
and Marque’s own Recipe Book

Prix Fixe and Degustation Menu for the 7th week of Spring

A simple, elegant dining area 

We began with an amuse bouche of pancetta consommé jelly with pea granita. It is so delicate even baby C liked it and asked for “more~”. We are also offered a choice of sourdough or rye housemade bread. They are warm and wholesome, with an extremely crunchy crust. Baby C enjoyed a big slice of sourdough and commented “yum~”.

Next up we have the tiger prawn entrée, which is an absolute delight to eat. The slightly translucent tiger prawns looked to be under but are in fact cooked to perfection. Given they are so fresh and delicate any more cooking will reduce the natural sweetness of the prawn. The vegetables on the plate are not only well crafted but also enhanced the flavour of the dish a million miles.
For main we had a piece of medium rare Angus Bavette steak, with all the fantastic flavour and juice locked inside the steak. I don’t normally eat asparagus but I gave it a try today and I’m glad I did. The asparagus taste is subtle and is actually quite nice with the delicious, sweet corn puree (my substitute for avocado puree) hidden underneath the black crumbs that tasted like prawn crackers.

Our dessert is a light, frothy foam of apple and celery with thin slices of apple and celery, a gorgeous, velvety goats curd ice cream and sprinkles of hazelnuts. The contrast in textures and in flavours is impeccable. The foam is so refreshing and the creamy goats curd ice cream such indulgence, almost like a deconstructed cheesecake with the hazelnuts as the crumb. Baby C again expressed high interests in the yummy ice cream.

Last but never least we had Marque’s renowned Sauternes custard with bitter caramel. The custard is served in an eggshell and looked adorable. Sauternes is a French dessert wine and its taste is quite evident in the custard. A dip of the spoon led us to the silky, smooth, caramel-coated custard, making it the perfect ending to an exquisite lunch.

Baby C Says Yum... Pancetta Consommé Jelly with Pea Granita
Baby C Says Yum... Housemade Rye Bread

L Loves... Tiger Prawn with Broadbeans, Potato, Dashi & Camomille

L Loves... Ranger Valley Angus Bavette with Asparagus,
Avocado (or Corn in my dish), Radish & Cucumber 

A closer look at the juicy Angus steak 

The amazing Mark Best reading the dockets behind the counter!

Baby C Says Yum... Hazelnut with Apple, Celery & Goats Curd

L Loves... Sauternes custard with bitter caramel

We had an amazing time at Marque, exquisite food, great service, with lively music playing in the background – not something you’d expect at a three-hat but made the restaurant a more relaxing place to dine at. Sometimes when you finish a meal it fills you up so much you start to feel bloated and uncomfortable. But when we finished our lunch all we feel is contentment and satisfaction, and the thought of coming back for more!

L's Verdict:

·      Taste: 9/10 
·      Ambience: 4/5
·      Value: 5/5 (for the Friday Prix Fixe only)
·      Service: 4/5
·      Creativity and other WOW factors: 4/5  

Overall rating:  26/30

4/5 355 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9332 2225
Lunch: Friday from 12 noon
Dinner: Mon to Fri from 6.30pm, Saturday from 6pm

Visited October 2012

Friendly advice: Take some time off from your busy schedule and book in early to try Marque's Friday Prix Fixe – the food is sensational and it is superb value for money! Go on, you won't regret it :)

Marque on Urbanspoon

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