We first heard of Marben from their Sausage League dinners, which pitted chefs from Toronto restaurants in a battle of the best sausage dish. Sadly these were all on Wednesdays and we missed them all. With Dining Date Night’s 30% incentive we headed over on a Sunday evening (…last November).
A refreshing cucumber, chili pepper & gin? cocktail
Marben was quite busy and we were glad to have a reservation. We started with a cocktail recommended by our waitress. The chili peppers gave an interesting kick to the drink without overwhelming it.
Ryan’s Charcuterie: Delicious fried and cured meaty bits 20
On Ryans’s Charcuterie plate, the star were the morsels of fried pig head (centre) though the venison sausages and other porky slices were also delicious with the chutney, mustards and cornichon.
Sage & Brown Butter Gnocchi with Brussel Sprouts 5
We really liked Marben’s menu of separate mains and sides – giving equal attention to both, and allowing you to choose exactly what you feel like. With interesting options far from the obligatory salad or fries (not that there’s ever anything wrong with more fries), we decided on the caramelized sunchokes on sunchoke purée and the sage & brown butter gnocchi with brussel sprouts. The sunchokes were interesting, tasting like caramelized chunks of an apple potato hybrid, but we both preferred the tender gnocchi and crispy shallot topped brussel sprouts.
John’s Burger: branston pickle, braised ribs, aged cheddar, coleslaw 13
For our mains we chose John’s burger – after reading much about it – it definitely lived up to the hype. Braised ribs deboned and reformed into a patty shape, topped with aged cheddar and served with coleslaw. Ribs and a burger all in one, this delicious creation must be what the mysterious cafeteria “rib on a bun” aspires to be.
Marianne’s Duo of Muscovy Duck: roasted breast, confit leg, truffled parsnip purée, honey gastrique 20
We also tried the duck duo, which consisted of a perfectly seared and sliced duck breast along side a confit leg. Showcasing duck done well, this dish was devoured as fast as politely possible.
Evan’s Apple Pudding: Bailey’s caramel, dolce di mascarpone, maldon sea salt 7
To wrap up the evening we opted for Evan’s Apple Pudding, a comforting dessert topped with Bailey’s caramel, a scoop of dolce di mascarpone and flakes of Maldon sea salt.
Along side the delicious food, the service at Marben was impeccable. Great drink recommendation, well timed dishes, and no hassle whatsoever on using a “deal site” for this particular visit. Definitely a restaurant worth returning to!
Sunday evening, November 6, 2011.
488 Wellington St W, Toronto