This is my second time at Marben (check out my first post for the general details about this place :D) in a matter of weeks! After the first time, I knew that my parents would definitely like the food here so it was just a matter of figuring out when to go.
I made our reservations through a fairly new online service called Dining Date Night. It’s super convenient and it’ll save you money to a list of restaurants that’s probably on your list of go-to places already. :D It’s completely free to signup and all you have to do to reap the benefits is to set up an account and make reservations for a $10 fee.
|"Welcome to Marben" -- rather understated signage. It's the warm lights and farmhouse vibe that invite you in.|
Be sure to mention at the restaurant that you’ve made your reservations through DiningDateNight and the 30% discount will appear directly on your bill. You’ll be stoked by how much money you save! It’s pretty awesome.
|Beautiful (also huge) painting that hangs in the restaurant (the panels can be rotated to reveal another painting!)|
Last time I was here we sat right by the window up at the front. This time, we were seated near the back, so we got a sweet view of the restaurant and could sort of peek into the kitchen as well.
This place has such a nice vibe to it! So chill and relaxed. My parents were very pleased so far.
Just from a couple of weeks ago the menu had already changed slightly. That’s always fun to be able to go back to a place within the season and get to experience different offerings from the chefs. The mainstay that I really wanted my parents to try (the John’s Burger) was still there so I was satisfied. :D
After we ordered, bread came. My dad still thinks it’s odd to just grab and tear the bread with your hands and then go to having a napkin nicely laid over your thigh, handling the cutlery with as much grace as possible.
PS. I’m a lefty—I doubt this factors into it—but I always find myself switching between the knife and fork between hands when I cut and then eat something. It feels natural but at the same time really cumbersome… Hmm.
Julia’s Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup (6)
(chantilly, croutons, sage oil). My mom’s a soup lover. My dad enjoys a good soup. As for me, bring on the hearty, creamy, super thick goodness!! At first, my parents, not being big fans of pumpkin, were very apprehensive of it being present in the soup. But they definitely warmed up to it.
This soup is in a way meant for one person; it is served in a single bowl. However, we decided to share it three-ways so we simply took turns scooping spoonfuls. It was really warming and earthy. The chantilly lightened it up but also added richness to the soup. Winner.
After our soup, all three of our mains arrived together on a long wooden plank. What to eat first?! Seemed like the duck was the warmest so we started there.
Marianne’s Duck Breast (19)
(lentils du puy, truffle jus, herb salad). I love duck. My parents have had some really amazing Chinese roast duck so their expectations sat higher than mine. And this dish met them! Once again, my dad graciously abandoned his “vegetarianism” for one meal (thanks!!) and from his pleasantness, didn’t regret it one bit.
There isn’t much to say here other than: I really hope that I’ve taken a couple of photos that can show you just how succulent, rich and perfectly cooked (surprisingly the pinkness was great!) these slices of duck were. That’s it.
Sean’s Rainbow Trout (18)
(barigoule sauce, root vegetable fries). The idea behind ordering this fish dish was that it was THE surprisingly good dish of the meal last time, so I’m sure my dad, being a fish-lover, would enjoy this.
It was good, but definitely not as “flavour-packing” as the last time. It was a bit of a let-down compared to how much it had stood out before.
John’s Burger (13)
(branston pickle, braised ribs, aged cheddar, coleslaw). I’m thinking to myself: “this is it. If there’s anything other than the duck that would convert my parents to wanting to eat out and try new foods, it’d be this burger.” My mom really liked it! (yess).
My dad enjoyed it as much as he could (I don’t remember the last time he ate a burger). More for me I guess? haha The does pickle get lost in the richness of the ribs though.. Juicy, very different from your average burgers in an awesome way, this is something you should try if I’m even minorly peaking your interest! ;D The coleslaw makes a nice light complement.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Rosemary Goat Cheese (5)
The last time I came here, we ordered Pommes Kennedy as our side based off of a recommendation (it was one of the best potato dishes I’ve ever had). This time, I wanted to try something different so we asked for another recommendation from the “sides” list. The potatoes were great but lacked the wow factor of the Pommes Kennedy.
Evan’s Apple Pudding (7)
(bailey’s caramel, dolce di mascarpone, maldon sea salt). Well isn’t this odd? As an unspoken rule of frugality and preference, my parents never order dessert. Somehow, tonight was an exception! :D I tried picking the least sweet item on the menu that didn’t have nuts in it.
We all enjoyed the firmer texture of the pudding, less mushy than traditional bread puddings but still just as indulgent. Of course, being a pudding, this dessert is thick and relatively dense so the mascarpone cuts through that and gives it a textural contrast. In caveman terms: good. yummy. Bailey’s caramel? Bonus!
Sorry I’ve mentioned my parents so many times in this post, but this food adventure was meant solely for them. My parents don’t indulge themselves often (and certainly not with food), so it’s very gratifying to be able to take them out somewhere to relax. Them liking the food and enjoying themselves is like perfectly piped icing on a cake. :D:D:D
|Just a simple night shot with the CN Tower in the back all lit up in festive colours! :D|
The savings for us weren't huge but they're still something! Also, keep in mind that we didn't order drinks. If you and your party are the type to enjoy wine and cocktails with your meal, be prepared to see a very significant cut in your bill courtesy of DiningDateNight. ;)
Verdict: DiningDateNight is AWESOME because you guarantee reservations at a restaurant serving great food AND you save money! Win-win. Marben, with almost all the dishes I’ve tried so far tasting superb, is now also permanently on my restaurant go-to list. For the great service, food and ambiance, you’ll definitely see me back here again!
5 out of 5 NOMs