How decadent is this? It’s 9 pm on Monday night and we put ourselves in the hands of chef Mark Best at Marque for the 14 course degustation plus matching wines. It ends at Midnight with plate licking, my plate licking, leaving me some $250 lighter for what was a sensational evening.
Really the only way I’m going to be more outrageous is to install chocolate fountains in our bedroom. I’ve ordered a white chocolate fountain for my twitter widow’s (twidow’s) bed side table and a dark one for mine. A milk chocolate fountain is to be installed at my desk, from where I have been conducting my Twitter conversation with @markbest.
And that is how come I came to his fine dining room of starched white linen. Meanwhile, Reem was keen having bumped into Best while he was standing outside the restaurant, tweeting in the street.
What we have is the nexus of modern food, ideas, technology and it turns out reality TV – he was featured on Masterchef tonight – all in one place. Our adventure into whimsy, art, flavour, texture and temperature kicks off with champagne and fairy light beetroot-pink macarons sandwiched together with a pate of foie gras. And with the fortunate juxtaposition of cleavage and meringue (above), it gives the impression of deconstructed nipples, which I believe is a world first.
It’s no surprise to see the famous chaud-froid (hot-cold) free range egg who I’m pleased to see he credits Arpege’s Alain Passard in 1998, when Best worked there. (And as Thermomixer, who first ate one in 1988, tells me in comments the egg was first put on the menu by Alain Passard in the mid-1980s.)
But the interpretation of foam, usually wispy bubbles that the faintest breeze would pop, is replaced by one as thick as shaving foam – the Noxzema brand to be precise. The idea is to eat the whole, the caramelized layer on top and the meaty oyster below, a dish – as are most here – with enough dimensions to confound Stephen Hawking.
Next is a lesson in design minimalism, slices of scallop as thin as a banknote surrounding a scampi anglaise – scampi custard – scattered with fish floss and offset both visually, texturally and in taste by the unlikely but surprisingly good contrast of small bitter cubes of Campari introduced to the scallop/custard/floss continuum.
I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves on my Flickr set. The ocean trout dish a play on deconstructing gravadlax and a counterpoint to what has come before and what comes next; a dish that I think is one of the highlights of the night in the mouth rather than in the eye – warm crab custard & frozen foie gras.
I’m anti foie gras in Australia, not for ethical reasons, but because the imported pasteurized or tinned stuff isn’t as good as the fresh. But this freeze dried dish won me over with its texture, that of melting chocolate.
The meat courses that follow are equally delicate and artistically seductive: duck, pork and wagyu. Each is satisfyingly, again in their multi dimensional way keeping my bouche, eyes and mind engaged.
So I’m at the end, the time the Tokay Martini arrived. You already known about the collision of my tongue with plate. And it’s a very a good thing.
Rutherglen “espresso”: Rutherglen Tokay, splash of Kahlua Especial 70 proof