I’ve been wanting to take a Friday off to have lunch at Marque for a while now, because on Fridays, they offer a 3 course market lunch for $45! As they say on their website #likemarquebutcheaper!
- Web: https://marquerestaurant.com.au
- Address: 4/5 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills
- Booking: recommended – do it online.
- Open for dinner: M-F (from 6pm), Sat (from 6.30pm)
- Open for lunch: Fri from 12pm
- Chef/owner: Mark Best. His profile is on their website and talks about how he started as an electrician then became interested in French food…
Marque is a relatively small restaurant hidden along Crown Street with no obvious signage sticking out, other than this plaque on the wall. The address itself is a bit odd, but basically it’s adjacent (or near to) Bills, another well known brunch place you might have heard of.
We’ve booked for 12pm. I struggle a bit with the door (do I push? do I pull?). The service, as expected, is very good here: the waiter helps us open the door.
Inside, the decor is simple and well black. The walls are black with one side lined with a mirror. Part of what makes Marque easy to miss is that there’s no obvious signs of diners – this is because the windows are covered in a gauzy curtain so no randoms can peer in on you.
Water? This is the strange part with Marque. In support of environmental consciousness, they have ceased to offer bottled water. So instead they offer either sparkling or still (from a tap), charged at $5 per person. This seems a bit weird given that tap is usually free at most places… and this makes our $45 lunch actually $50 per person.
The hidden costs of water!
Oh well, the service is excellent and we view the $5 as a tip/service fee. But just to make sure we get our $5 value, I made sure to drink lots and lots of water!
Okay, so it’s a three course lunch – but D2D is already expecting 5 courses really. This is our first ‘course’: free bread!
We are offered sourdough or rye and caraway. We get a little block of butter wrapped in paper and tied with string – cute.
I love free bread at restaurants! At this point, I make a note to myself to find out which restaurants have the best free bread…
This is our second ‘course’ – also free. Just a little finger snack – I’m not sure what it is, but that is a cherry tomato on top of a wafer thin crisp, which is spread with some cream/butter and sprinkled over with a flavoursome powder. The mix of textures is nice – soft and crunchy!
Ok, here is our first REAL course! The Friday lunch is an ever-changing fixed menu. First up is sea urchin with rice bubbles and cauliflower. Again, there’s an interesting play of different textures – lots of crunch and smooth butter-like sea urchin. The flavour isn’t too strong, not like at Moon Park.
Next up, is roast pork neck with eggplant and wakame. This was a rather Asian-style course. The pork neck was quite tender and not too fatty. Wakame is basically seaweed and is hidden under the eggplant. On top of the egg plant, you can spot, two brown flakes.
We don’t know what it was. But it was very strong in flavour.
It tasted kind of like an Asian sauce – but crispy and flat. We were also a bit confused as to how to eat this: do we eat it by itself, break it up and mix it with the other components of the dish?
Then came dessert! We were a bit disappointed with this last course actually – perhaps we expected more, but this seemed a bit like just pieces of fruit arranged on a plate. Albeit, the fruit was very tasty and those berries were huge! That black thin layer you see on top is the liquorice, which you can kind of snap up and mix it in with everything.
The part I found interesting was the caramelised yoghurt (the golden brown stuff on the bottom). This was a nice sauce for the dish and I wondered: how does one caramelise yoghurt…
All in all, I think the Friday Lunch $45 (really $50) is a nice, relatively cheap way to experience what Marque has to offer. It’s a quiet and relaxing place to have lunch, and with the free bread and finger food, you end up feeling quite satisfied by the end. The service is excellent as well.
If you like what you get a sample of through the Friday Lunch, the menu is normally $165 per person (or $170 with water…). It’s a fixed degustation type menu, and they have no al carte dining option.
Their website also features recipes, which I think is pretty cool. I wonder if anyone has every tried to make their own Marque in the home kitchen… Maybe we will on our next cooking post!