Having just reinvented itself and reopened its doors, this Wellington West restaurant is going to leave it’s mark on the Toronto food scene. Although I know a few people “on the inside”, I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible when composing this review.
Dim lights, comfortable seating, light music and the pleasant aroma coming from the open kitchen make this restaurant very inviting and cozy. Kitchen accessories used as the decor throughout the locale could be considered a little too tacky but in this case really give the place some character. The fact that the kitchen’s food pass also doubles as a bar for foodies to enjoy the show really demonstrates the importance that this restaurant places on its eating experience. Another great place to sit is the patio, where the warmth of the indoor space is continued and you can even enjoy fresh herbs from their green wall.
Anyways, the important issue at hand is the food! To be perfectly honest, other than what could be technical difficulties (insufficient seasoning) everything we tried that night was amazing. Simple and fresh food where the flavours were accentuated only by their cooking method without any pretenses of excessive spices. Perfectly cooked fish and meat melted in your mouth while seasonal vegetables complemented their taste and contrasted their textures. Our meal was started with a sharing plate of homemade bread and a organic soy bean oil for dipping which set the tone for the bliss that our tastes buds needed to endure during the rest of the evening. The appetizers came in small portions but enough for everyone at the table to at least grab a bite. Arctic char, ravioli, oysters and an amazing terrine left us salivating and wanting more. The mains were definitely in tone with everything else we devoured that meal. I do recommend the burger which is almost like a Kinder Surprise with it’s braised beef center and definitely the duck breast which is succulent and perfectly cooked. Prices are all under $20 for “normal” portions, but keep in mind that they’re tasting plates so 2 or 3 per person are recommended.
The only constructive criticism I have is based on the staff. First of all, there seemed to be waaay too many people working there for the amount of customers. I do believe our table had 3 waitresses, 1 bus buy, 2 food runners, one random man who brought out only one plate and the floor manager. It was a little confusing to keep track of who to order from and realistically, who we were tipping. Regardless, the experience at Marben was remarkable and I’ll definitely return in the near future.