Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marque, Surry Hills

I've been busy planning a last minute trip to Perth, so the blog has been a bit neglected.  However, I'm feeling inspired by my visit to Marque and thought a post was in order.  Last Friday, my friend and I decided on the Friday Prix Fixe lunch that consisted of an amuse bouche, entree, main served with bread, pre-dessert, dessert and finally ending with some petit fours.  The lunch menu changes weekly, and all for a sensational $45 per person.  I cannot believe that after all this time of walking up and down Crown Street, that I never realised that Marque was just right next to Billy Kwong.

The unassuming and minimalistic presence of the restaurant front seem to continued on inside the restaurant, and was warmly welcomed by us.  As we both had to head back to work afterwards in an alert state, we stuck to glasses of water and for those unaware, Marque charges $5 per person for their water.  The reason being is that bottled water is no longer an option available in their effort to help the environment, and instead a water filtration system now provides chilled still or carbonated water.

Water, $5 per person

An amuse bouche of marron with potato and pork floss started our lunch off, and really set the tone for the rest of the food to follow.  The amuse bouche was a wonderfully subtle balance of soft potato puree and luxurious sprinkling of heady pork floss that never overshadowed the beautifully delicate piece of marron. 

Marron with potato and pork floss

After the amuse bouche, the entree of Hiramasa Kingfish, green strawberries, liquorice, salt and vinegar was served. The Hiramasa Kingfish just melted in my mouth and slightly acidic notes of the green strawberries provided a nice contrast to the subtle fennel and salt and vinegar soil.  Again another dish where the flavours never opposed each other and delicately blended into one.

Hiramasa Kingfish, green strawberries, liquorice, salt and vinegar

When our mains came along, we had the option of either a slice of sourdough or rye with caraway accompanied by some housemade butter.  The bread had a wonderfully moist and dense crumb, and a lovely depth of flavour.

Rye with caraway

The main of roasted lamb rump, hazelnut praline, leek, garlic and mint was another winner for us.  The lamb was a delight to eat, and was beautifully cooked.  I was taken by surprised with how the hazelnut praline and lamb went so well together, and also loved the addition of the edible turnip flower.  I actually don't like mint jelly, but the mint sauce with the garlic puree was ever so subtle.  The mint sauce just tasted of the essences of a few mint leaves, and was a refreshing touch.

Roasted lamb rump, hazelnut praline, leek, garlic and mint

Our pre-dessert was the sublime Sauternes custard with bitter caramel served in an egg shell.  The egg shell cloaked our pre-dessert in darkness, so I had no idea what to expect.

Sauternes custard

However, that was until I pierced the top of my pre-dessert with the spoon, and found a wonderfully light custard beneath that perfectly bittersweet caramel.  The addition of Sauternes, which is a French dessert wine, really added a lovely depth of sweetness to the gloriously smooth custard.  The bitter caramel was fantastically rich, but was the perfect complement for the creamy Sauternes custard.  This is definitely a pre-dessert that I won't be forgetting for a while.

Soon after our desserts of coconut milk cake, mango sorbet and jackfruit came.  Like the rest of our dishes this creation was also a beautiful sight to behold.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this dessert.  The ever so moist and texturally crumbly coconut milk cake sat beneath a delicate dome of meringue.  The mango sorbet just evaporated once it touched my tongue and to finish, slivers of lovely jackfruit danced around our plates.

Coconut milk cake, mango sorbet and jackfruit

I could of easily had a nap after all of that wonderful food, so I think some coffee and tea was needed to give us a bit of a pick me up.  

Tea, $6

The final touch to our great lunch were the petit fours of salted caramel chocolates and bitter bon bons. We started off with the Campari bon bons and were instructed to be very gentle with them as they are incredibly delicate and must be popped into the mouth all at one go.  You have no idea how gingerly I was picking it up, as I was worried that it was going to explode.  However, my Campari bon bon got to my mouth unscathed, and it really was bitter as you would expect a shot of Campari to be. This bon bon for me was the most texturally interesting, as when you bite into it shards of sugar break up, and you are left with an intense explosion of Campari.

Next we decided to try the jube or jelly and it tasted really strongly of mandarin, in a good way though.  We followed this with the lemon drop, which we thought was nice and subtle, and lastly we tried the salted caramel chocolates.  Don't do what I did and bite half of it.  Otherwise, you may have a salted caramel spillage crisis like I would have, had I not acted fast enough.  At first bite the dark chocolate shell just shattered, and a lovely gush of salted caramel then oozed into my mouth.  Definitely best to consume all these petit fours whole in my opinion.

Jubes, lemon drops, salted caramel chocolates and Campari bon bons

I'm really glad that I tried the Friday Prix Fixe lunch.  To be honest, I have always been undecided if I wanted to dine at Marque, as I had heard a lot of mixed opinions from others.  However, if you're looking for a beautifully restrained dining experience with friendly staff in an unpretenious and relaxed setting, then Marque may just be the place you are looking for.  Cheesecake Boy is so envious, that I'll be sure to take him for dinner at Marque very soon.

Dining away, Dumpling Girl.

355 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9332 2225

Marque on Urbanspoon


Simon Leong said...

definitely on the wish list if i ever get around to organising far enough in advance :-)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I absolutely love their Friday lunch too! This along with Assiette's are two smashing deals for diners :)

Joseph - UpForAFeed said...

Your pics look great!

You got the post up quick , i haven't started mine yet..

JasmyneTea said...

All of those dishes look so beautiful, but I confess that the salted caramel petit four is calling my name. What a great price, too!

Unknown said...

Such wonderful, fun presentation. We're booked in for dinner in December - looking forward to it even more now. :)

rockahenry said...

wow, uber impressive. i'm so intrigued by that licorice salt!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Simon, I think if you can must be tried at least once :)

Hi Lorraine, Couldn't agree more on how great value for money this lunch for a restaurant of this calibre was.

Hey Joseph, lol thanks, it was super frustrating but getting the hang of it now. It's easier for me to post while I still remember. Otherwise, it would have taken me a while too.

Hello JasmyneTea, the salted caramel chocolate was by fave of the petit fours.

Hi Detective Chow, hope you enjoy your time as much as I did :)

Hey rockahenry, it was very subtle the licorice salt.

sugarpuffi said...

wow marque lunch is $45 and 5 courses! crazyyyyy. the food looks fantastic

Anonymous said...

Hi Dumpling Girl, robert Kennard here. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious. How long in advance do you have to book before for the Friday lunch deal?

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Sugarpuffi, yes it is sensation value and the food was delish.

Hi Robert, nice to hear from you. Hope you're well. I'm beginning to think that I was incredibly lucky, as I called and there was only one table free 2 weeks later, so I took it. Apparently, it can be a much longer wait, so I guess better call them ASAP if you're interested.

Jen said...

I wish I didn't work Fridays :(
Ive heard some mixed reviews too but my meal at Marque was just amazing when I went there.

Squeak said...

Absolutely love the Sauternes Custard. It has been a long time between visits for us.....soon, soon!

chocolatesuze said...

$45 for all that food is amazing!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Jen, I thought it was wonderful too. You can always take a day off :D

Hi Squeak, the custard was lovely, will be sure to take Cheesecake Boy soon.

Hello chocolatesuze, I was surprised by the quantity for that price too, it was really excellent value.

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

I definitely will book in a day of annual leave for this..it's truly worth it, what an elegant treat!

Dolly said...

the Sauternes custard looks aweosme...

the presentation is LOVELY!@@@@

love the use of flowers .. gives it so much definition!!

Anonymous said...

I've heard about Marque's hits and misses too :( but a quick lunch to see what all the fuss is about is a great idea to check out!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Gianna, definitely do. It really was a fantastic lunch.

Hey Dolly, the flowers were lovely.

Hello minibites, I'd definitely go again.