Yes, well I did promise you an update on my birthday dinner, didn’t I? So here it is.
When we arrived at Marque’s we were surprised to find that even at 9.30pm it was packed. John (sympathetic chef that he is) noted that the kitchen was being ‘slammed’. There was only one table (ours) that was empty, contrasting to the last time when we were the only table.
The waitress recognised us -sort of not surprising because John knows the chef, Mark Best, from his apprenticeship days, but also sort of surprising because we hadn’t been there for a year. She also cleared up the mystery of why the restaurant was packed on a Thursday night; they had had a very good write-up in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday. I am glad Marque’s is getting the reviews and clientele it deserves, as I have always felt it was under-rated.
Yet despite being busy, they maintained their level of impeccable service and welcoming atmosphere. There were some slight changes to the menu since last year, in that Mark had cranked the food up a notch, even though I had not thought it possible. Deciding what to have was difficult.
- Hor D’oeuvres – these are served to all diners as a complimentary service
- The first one was an exquisitely delicate egg dish, served in an eggshell with crustini. I don’t remember exactly what Mark said had been done with it, he mentioned a bain-marie, cream and maple syrup! The idea was to be able to have sweet, sour and salty in one bite.
- The next one was a frothy Jerusalem Artichoke soup, served in a tea cup.
- First Course
- John chose the Red Mullet salad, and pronounced it excellent.
- I chose Mark’s signature dish – his goats cheese souffle with a tomato sauce. This is one item that never disappears from the menu, because it is so good.
- Main Course
- It was hard to select a main, as they were all so tempting. There was no Squab with Pear left, so both of us went for the Venison Pot au Feu. Simply divine.
- John chose an unusual dessert – stuffed tomato with star anise ice cream. It is rare to find tomato actually served as a fruit, but John pronounced this dessert excellent.
- I chose the Chocolate Fondant Pudding with ice cream
All in all, it was a fantastic birthday dinner.