6 November 2009

Marque, Surry Hills for $45 prix fixe lunch

When I tried to book at table for lunch at Marque in July, I was told that there were no available tables until October! So it wasn't until October that I had the pleasure of savouring the delicious food at Marque restaurant to celebrate Charm and Dad's birthday (coincidentally, they share the same birthday)

Marque opens for lunch on Fridays only, so it's not a surprise that they are booked out far in advance. Marque offers a 8 course degustation, a la carte menu and a prix fixe menu changing weekly. Of course we went for the prix fixe menu which was great value, offering 3 courses for a mere $45.

Menu for 16th October

We got a selection of either white or rye and caraway seed bread which were both served warm with butter. I preferred the white as the rye and caraway seed tasted a bit strange for me, but both were soft with a chewy crust.

Chaud froid free range egg

The amuse bouche was Marque's signature chaud froid free range egg with salted grissini. We were instructed to dip the grissini into the egg and eat it that way. This was an amazing journey of textures and flavours, being hot, cold, salty and sour at the same time. The grissini was delicate and crispy and inside the open egg shell was egg yolk and a creamy mousse-like layer tasting slightly of vinegar.

Sautéed calamari with tomatoes, goats cheese and black rice

The entree was sautéed calamari with tomatoes, goats cheese and black rice. The serving looked small because it was served on a large plate, but it was a reasonable size and every morsel was absolutely delicious.

The calamari was perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender and was definitely the focus of the dish. The tomatoes were the tiniest tomatoes I've ever seen but also the most flavoursome tomatoes I've tasted. There was just enough creamy goats cheese and black puffed rice crisps to have a lovely variation of textures in the mouth. I tried to prolong the flavours for as long as possible and savoured every bite of this.

Roast muscovy duck with olive purée, charcoal cucumber and leek

The entree was amazing, but the main course simply blew me away. The muscovy duck was pink and tender with a lovely layer of fatty skin on the top. Hidden underneath the duck were cucumber slices dusted in charcoal which imparted a smokey flavour.

The baby leeks were peppery and along with the sprouts and sweet onion rings added textural variety to the dish. The pool of black olive purée in the centre of the plate was very strong in olive flavour, and a small amount was enough to add a bitterness to compliment the other tastes of the duck and vegetables.

Sauternes custard

You may have figured out by now that this so-called 3 course lunch actually involves all the complimentary in between courses as well, making it even better value. Case in point is the pre-dessert which is a luscious, melt-in-the-mouth custard flavoured with Sauternes, a French dessert wine. The sweet caramel topping is offset by the silky Sauternes custard which is slightly acidic compared to the caramel.

Poached cumquats with yoghurt sorbet and cocoa ribbon

To top off a great meal, dessert is presented to us and it is an artwork of chocolate and cumquats. I've never had cumquats before but the tart and bitter flavours of the fruit are the perfect match with the rich chocolate ribbon and the sweet yoghurt sorbet. The poached cumquat halves are stuck onto the plate with a cumquat jam, and underneath the yoghurt sorbet is also some chocolate soil. The most peculiar element of the dish is the cocoa ribbon which looks like a thin sheet of melted chocolate, but instead of cracking when bitten into, it doesn't give and becomes a chewy cocoa treat. Sort of like a chocolate space food stick, but more sophisticated =P

The prix fixe lunch is probably only a small snippet of Mark Best's culinary skill, but it didn't fail to tantalise the tastebuds and explore a range of tastes and flavours in few dishes. It is definitely one of the best value fine dining lunches in Sydney, and this fact is not lost on Sydney foodies, with the waitress informing us that they have been booked out for lunch until the end of the year! 

355 Crown Street
Surry Hills, NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 93322225
Lunch: Fridays from 12pm
Dinner: Monday - Saturday, from 6.30pm

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Marque on Urbanspoon


  1. I can see why the Friday lunch is booked out. The food (and your photos) look gorgeous.

  2. That egg looks really familiar. I think they had to cook it on Masterchef...

  3. Hi Belle - Thanks! The food was amazing - I'm keen to go back for dinner for their degustation menu

    Hi Fefifofum - If I remember correctly, one week the winning team got to go inside the kitchen and they were trying to cut off the top of the eggshell for this dish (or something like that)

  4. Hi Jac, I have given you an award. Stop by my blog to pick it up!

  5. AHhh nice!
    I've been trying to book a table here tooo! Great to see what they are serving for lunch, it looks all great! Hmmm duck!

  6. Mmm must try Marque for dinner sometime... now if only they did a 45 dora degustation dinner hee hee

  7. I really enjoyed my meal there and it's good to see that they change the menu quite often as everything except for the egg is different!

  8. Hi Ellie - Thanks so much!

    Hi Yas - Hope you don't have to wait too long for a table! The lunch (and the duck) were fantastic!

    Hi FFichiban - Haha if they did I think they'd be booked out at least a year in advance!

    Hi Lorraine - After reading your blog post I was actually hoping to get the same liquid nitrogen fruit salad thing! But I was happy with the sauternes custard =P

  9. wow for $45 - i wish i went to a lunch instead! i went to dinner on sat night, $165 poorer now :s

  10. gorgeous pictures!!! love the egg dish especially!

  11. Hi Betty - I'm sure your dinner was worth every cent! Can't wait for your blog post about it :)

    Hi restaurantgroupie - Thanks!

  12. Great value, I've been for dinner and had a few of the dishes you had! $45 is a steal considering some pubs charge $20 ish for mains already!

  13. Hi Howard - Good to know that the quality of food is similar for lunch as it is for dinner!

  14. I had the degustation at Marque a couple of months ago and this lunch looks like a great value sneak peek into it! I'm going to have to try get a lunch booking now...

  15. Hi Jen - Oh I'm so jealous! I would love to have the degustation at Marque but need to save up for it haha. Good luck in getting a lunch booking - I hope they're not too full yet!

  16. What a bargain! Everything looks and sounds awesome. Like yourself, my favourite was the white bread, the other two seemed a little floral for me.
    Disappointed I don't work in the city, I'd definitely pay $45 for that.

  17. Hi Linda - Did you go to Marque recently as well? Yep, $45 is a major steal, all the dishes were so perfectly executed!