Friday, September 12th, 2014


Mark Best of Marque

The staff at Marque Photo © Mark Best

I was incredibly fortunate a few months back to meet Mark Best at Qualia’s Weekends of Wonderment event. Mark was the guest chef for the weekend and he orchestrated the most amazing 5 course meal on the second night of our stay using all the local mud crabs we caught on the day’s excursion, in addition to Mark and his team recreating some of his signature dishes from his prolific Sydney restaurant; Marque.

Mark started by discovering the stoves accidentally and ended up becoming an unquestionable symbol of the new Australian Cuisine. His perseverance and his ‘eternal dissatisfaction’ (as he calls it himself) are the vitamins for his spectacular personal development.

Mark Best started his working life as an electrician in the gold mines of Western Australia before starting his culinary career at the age of 25. He commenced an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro, Potts Point, in 1990. This was the beginning of his passion for French food. In the fourth year of his apprenticeship he was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Award for ‘Best Up and Coming Chef’ in NSW.

In 1995 he opened his own restaurant, Peninsula Bistro, Balmain, which soon developed a strong local following and rave critical acclaim. During this time he decided to further his study of French Cuisine in France. In 1998 he worked at ‘L’Arpége’ in Paris, Alain Passard’s three Michelin Star ‘Gastro Temple’. He followed this with a stint at Raymond Blanc’s, ‘Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons’ in Great Milton, UK. His time overseas fuelled his desire to open Marque.

is a super cool bloke, very witty and totally packed full of charm, so I was chuffed when he asked if I’d like to come into his restaurant; Marque, in Surry Hills to savour a long, lazy lunch and sample his desgustation menu.

So, ergo, the following Friday I graciously brought my good mate Andy from The Gourmet Grocer along with me ~ as he is utterly mad about all things food and it was perfectly fitting timing-wise as it was Andy’s birthday weekend, so a great opportunity to invite him along.

We had a totally amazing afternoon. Mark ~ as ever, was incredibly welcoming, and after a glass or two of superb French champers, Andy and I experienced ~ and thoroughly enjoyed, a superb meal. Without a doubt, one of the best I have ever experienced in Sydney. As the 12 dishes were served, Mark popped over from time to time and chatted to us explaining the each dish in regards to the origin of the produce and the inspiration behind each of the 12 dishes. *see below.

Recently in the Elite 100 world restaurant ranking ~ which is sponsored by champagne Laurent-Perrier, Marque topped the Australian contingent coming in at 35. As noted on the Elite site:

“Minimalist in its décor, Marque Restaurant is all about the food. Electrician turned gourmet chef Mark Best approaches his cooking with original flair, providing a menu brimming with creativity. Unafraid to take risks in the kitchen, Best takes his relentless search for new combinations to the extreme, with the result that his menu is constantly evolving”.

Marque offers a 3 course Friday market lunch which has been an enormous success since its inception.As an idea to provide value to its customers it offers a wonderful vehicle to hot house ideas from the team. Some ideas make it to the menu, some don’t. The important thing is the process of creativity & collaboration.

Mark has kindly offered a signed copy of his stunning Marque cookbooks to one lucky WKA reader. If the winner is Sydney-based (or elsewhere in Aus and you are happy to pop into Mark’s restaurant in Surry Hills), he will personally say hello and sign the book for you. To be in the draw to win, please share this post on your social media sites ~ Facebook. Instagram, Twitter etc. and leave a comment below telling myself ~ and Mark, as he’ll be reading these posts and personally picking the winner ~ what your most favourite degustation dish is/was to date ~ be it in Aus or around the world, and why you enjoyed it so much? Good luck!.

Other links worth checking out:

Sea Biscuit

Fraser Island Spanner Crab with Almond Gazpacho, Almond Jelly, Sweet Corn and Avruga

Smoked Eel with Parmesan Gnocchi and Pumpkin

N.Z Bass Groper with Green Tomato, Verjus, Potato Paper, Fish Milk and Roe

Yamba Prawn and Cucumber

S.A. Kangaroo with Beetroot and Radicchio

Redgate Farm Quail with Carrot Heart and Miso

Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ with Pineapple and Onion

Hibiscus with Malted Chocolate Mousse

Sorrel Ice Cream with Mandarin and Honeycomb

Sauternes Custard

Pastry chef, Lauren

Mark’s Honeycomb ~ as featured in the Sorrel Ice Cream dessert

Mark’s Honeycomb Recipe as kindly supplied by Mark

165g castor sugar
60g liquid glucose
25g honey
1½ tablespoons water
7g bicarb soda

1. Grease a small cake tin with vegetable oil (canola spray is ideal for this), line with baking paper and grease again.

2. Add sugar, glucose, honey and water to a heavy-based pan and heat to 155°C.

3. Quickly sieve in the bicarb soda, stir and pour into the mould.

4. Set aside to cool.


Friday Lunch $49

Marque’s 3 course Friday market lunch has been an enormous success. As an idea to provide value to its customers it has proved a wonderful vehicle to hot house ideas from the team. Some ideas make it to our menu, some don’t. The important thing is the process of creativity & collaboration.

This week

New Season’s Young Garlic with Egg Jam, Hazelnut & Bottarga
Tasmanian King Salmon with Radicchio, Apple & Onion
Parsnip, Banana & Coffee


About the book: The story of Marque’s philosophy, food and people.

Marque is a highly illustrated, contemporary recipe book, celebrating and reflecting on Marque, the successful Sydney restaurant. Also included is the personal journey of chef and owner Mark Best and a collection of Marque’s signature recipes. This includes complete dishes as well as a myriad of smaller recipes and techniques which are the back­bone of the cuisine at Marque.

Forwarded by René Redzepi (of Noma) this is a stunning book to treasure as both a compilation of beautiful recipes and a record of one of the world’s best restaurants.

Price: AUD$79.95. Buy Here.

18 Responses to “MARQUE RESTAURANT”

  1. September 12, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Such beautiful food, you’ve certainly done it justice!

    • Luca
      September 17, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      55 degree smoked egg, chorizo iberico, rosemary smoke and buckwheat @ JAAN in Singapore.

      Because at what other temperature would you smoke an egg in Rosemary.
      And because jamon iberico enhances every meal… especially when in chorizo form.

  2. Louise
    September 12, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Tea-smoked duck at Billy Kwongs.

    Served as part of a 6 course degustation, the dish was enjoyed at a ‘sisters’ dinner. My three sisters and I get together at most once a year when we’re all in Sydney and we chat for hours over a delicious meal.

    A beautiful meal from a chef with an (early?) sustainable and ethical focus, four sisters, a free-range duck that’s been marinated, steamed, smoked and deep fried. You had me at duck.

    Have yet to sample a Mark Best dish although we’re booked to celebrate our (12th) wedding anniversary at Marque in October. Not certain, but perhaps 1 degustation course for every year?

    Congratulations on the impending launch of your new book Katie. I hope it brings you much satisfaction and pride.

  3. Kimberley
    September 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    All of the recipes look amazing! This one stands out to me! Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ with Pineapple and Onion.

  4. September 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    The best degustation menu I have had is from a local Perth restaurant called ‘Co-op Dining’. The menu is based on wild foraged foods and local WA produce all sustainable and organic. The menu changes depending on what is sourced. The passion for good local food beamed from the chefs as they came out to explain each dish and fill us in on where they were sourced. Not only was the food great but the waiter recommended matching local wines and beers for each meal.

    I along with some fellow food bloggers enjoyed a 10 course menu and it had everything from lamb tongue to marron cooked on a salt rock at the table.

    I look forward to getting over to Sydney to check out Mark’s restaurant!

  5. Sophia
    September 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Wow! What a wonderful collection of recipes and images. I cos spend days just reading them over abs over.

  6. September 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    My husband and I had an amazing meal at Marque in December 2010 just before we left for our posting in Vietnam. Although its nearly 4 years ago, it is a meal that stuck with us. The service was as incredible as the food which was some of the most beautiful and flavoursome food I have ever tasted. In recent years we have tried some amazing food and were spoilt in Hanoi with incredible street food. But a recent meal that stands out was in Shanghai last October. We’d left it until the last minute to book and ended up at T8 in Xintiandi and managed to be seated at the table overlooking the kitchen. Apart from gazing at (and enjoying) some beautiful Jamon Iberico and chatting to the Spanish chef, the highlight was watching the team of chefs turning out plate after plate of a tuna tartare dish which tasted as good as it looked. It was almost like a ballet watching each chef playing a role but with barely a word said. Gave me a whole new appreciation for the mechanics of a kitchen.

  7. Natalie fallon
    September 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    What a great way to relax and enjoy these delights . Well presented and looks amazing .

  8. September 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    One of the most amazing food experiences of my existence is eating murtaba. My dad worked in the RAAF and as a result I was born and briefly lived in Malaysia. My family returned to Australia with an enhanced appreciation of Asian cuisine. I say Asian because Malaysia had a wide variety of Asian cultures living together so eating there was like being presented with a smorgasbord of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food.
    One of the most labour intensive dishes that my dad learned to make was murtaba, so when we got to eat it, that was a big deal. It really was a tantalising combination of flavours – pastry, lamb mince, onion, curry sauce… My mouth is watering just writing about it. A couple of times when Dad asked what I’d like for my birthday, my answer would be murtaba.

  9. Jo o"keefe
    September 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Amazing looking dishes and amazing photographs as always. Both putting Australian food out there for the world to see. Exciting times that’s for sure.

  10. September 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    It would be wonderful to win a copy of the book! Thank You for sharing!

  11. September 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Amazing shots! Hope to win the book 🙂

    Katie, check out my website : I am a food photographer from Montréal, Canada, that was inspired by your work many years ago. Thanks for your inspiration and keep up the kick ass work!


  12. Gudrun Rosa
    September 15, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Loved this post and seeing the pictures of the dishes and the restaurant. Being Icelandic it was rally interesting seeing the different way of working with some of the same ingredients as we have here but in a way i have never seen done here at the local restaurants. Australia is on the must go and visit countries and would love to dine at this restaurant when that happens.

    The best degustation menu I have had is from a a local restaurant here in Reykjavík that called Sjávargrillið – their lobster meanu is one of my favorites as it starts with Ling & grilled langoustine, Cauliflower, bell pepper, hollandaise, estragon , the for main course Grilled & deepfried langoustine with pan fried plaice, Organic barley, yellow turnip, spring onion, tomato and then ends with creme brulée.

    Greetingd from Iceland

  13. Cici
    September 16, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I visited Australia last year and i discovered delicious food.

    Greeting from Romania :).

  14. Gloria trujeque
    September 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Hi katie!!
    I’ve been working in the kitchen around for 2 years and half, and you’re so inspiring for me!! Thanks for this blog and recipes that comes with it!!, the restaurant is amazing and those plates woow! Amazing and clean!!!
    Cheers, keep sharing!!!

  15. September 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Beautiful work Katie! What’s in the ‘unnamed’ shot with the black background?

    A standout dish for me was Jacques Reymond’s John Dory with szechuan pepper, smoked palm sugar, lemon and black olive – and even though I had it a number of years ago it still lingers in my memory as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The flavours were incredible – the smoked palm brought out the natural sweetness of the dory, but was well balanced with the tartness of the lemon and black olive reduction.

    What also made it special was that it was my very first degustation – I’d just landed my first ‘regular’ job after busting my chops for years doing odd jobs and shift work, and thought I’d treat myself with a trip to Melbourne and dinner at Jacques’! Sad to see him shut up shop but no doubt he’s passed the baton on to capable hands.

  16. September 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    wonderful pictures katie!

    • September 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      My favourite one so far is at est. I need to try a few more before i can comment tho!

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