Mark Best’s Marque makes its mark on Surry Hills and Masterchef

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Beetroot and foie gras macarons.

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.

I was egged on by Mel and Reem. But also I was trying to outdo somebody I’d met earlier that evening, Chocolatesuze, who has become a hero simply because she eats Adriano Zumbo for breakfast.

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.

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Coffin Bay virgin Pacific oyster with grilled sea foam

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.

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Slow cooked pork jowl with spinach and Pacific oyster. Matched with 2007 Pierre-Marie Chermete “Les Griottes” Beaujolais, Burgundy

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.

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Rutherglen “espresso”: Rutherglen Tokay, splash of Kahlua Especial 70 proof

9 Comments

  1. Still haven’t manages to get there. On the to-do list.

    “It’s no surprise to see the famous chaud-froid (hot-cold) free range egg first put on the menu by Alain Passard in 1998, to whom Best gives credit on the menu.” Should read – “… first put on the menu by Alain Passard in the mid 1980s at Arpege, where Best worked in 1998” – I had chaud-froid eggs at Arpege in May 1988 and they were not new then.

    Thanks Ed it looks superb

  2. Simon,me too. I’ve been really frustrated by it so far so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do – especially in the low light of restaurants.

  3. Can’t wait to see what photos you’ll produce with those lenses! I did the same thing but no macro lens as of yet.

  4. Simon, Thanks. I’m just an Amateur with the camera but liked the light. However,end of financial year I treated myself to an f1.4 and a f2 macro for the digital SLR so I may step up.

    Injera, Topaque…pffffffft

    Twidow, okay I’ll have the white chocolate on my desk.

    Chocolatesuze, quite right. People have given mea hard time for eatingcake for breakfastfor yearsand sadly we don’t have Adriano here. When I’m not eating porridge or bacon, cakes and buns are my favourite too. No.1 Jam Donuts. No.2 Christmas cake. No.3 Jam Sponge. No.4 chocolate eclairs No.5 Mille feuille

  5. bwahahahaha yes macarons and cake for breakfast yumyum i dont see how it’s much different to people eating pancakes with maple syrup or toast with jam for breakfast…

  6. Just want to point out, if I have to have a chocolate fountain by my bedside, it will have to be dark.
    Twidow

  7. Shouldn’t that be a “Topaque”?!

    Sounds as though a trip to Sydney is in order…

  8. Pingback: MasterChef Australia – Taste Test – Sam V Tom | reality ravings

  9. LOL at the Adriano Zumbo comment. Nice phrasing and at least you’re spelling is right! 🙂

    Like the martini shot. With the light it reminds me of a sunset over water.