I must admit, it was definitely the creativity and passion that went into making the food exceptional that brought me back to Marben after only a couple weeks. It’s Wellington West location in Toronto is definitely one that is starting to attract more and more attention. Just like on opening day, the patio and most of the indoor space was saturated with people out to have a great meal. However, the vibe is definitely more relaxed than that of the first night which definitely puts the diners at ease as well.
But, let’s talk food, since that’s the most important part of this whole post. The menu has expanded from our first visit and it exhibits local and seasonal products better than any restaurant I’ve visited in the past while. It features sharing plates at an affordable price and shows off the kitchen’s creativity and talent. We had the wonderful opportunity to have the chef choose our menu for us that evening so we sat back and enjoyed the feast. The turnip and trout salads were our openers: light, perfectly seasoned, fresh and definitely set the stage for what was to come. Following those was probably the most amazing dish on the menu, the Tortellini. Little pasta pockets filled with heavenly braised beef and served in a homemade BBQ sauce with a fried egg and “hickory sticks” for added texture. The flavours were outstanding and I know I’ll definitely order a few portions of this for myself the next time I’ll be at Marben. For our mains, we shared the roasted beef and the halibut. By far the beef was the better of the two, perfectly cooked and served with Pommes Kennedy (essentially fried potato gratin) and phenomenal beef jus.
For the first time, we also had the opportunity to try the desserts and since I’m quite fond of sweets, this was probably the most important part of the meal. We shared a chocolate ice cream sandwich served with chocolate sauce and creme anglaise and a bread pudding, peach/cherry compote and vanilla/strawberry ice cream dish. Both had phenomenal flavours but were fairly lacking in creativity compared to the rest of the menu. The ice cream sandwich was a overload of chocolate, which any girl with definitely enjoy, but seemed to be lacking that “wow” factor. There were no hidden flavours, no pockets of braised beefy goodness and definitely didn’t belong on the same menu as the tortellini. The second dessert was definitely the favourite of the two. It’s pretty much what you’d get when you made yourself a treat with leftovers in your fridge. A warm bread pudding served as the base for a flavourful fruit compote and melted the smooth and silky ice cream leaving you with a plate full of syrupy goodness. It definitely requires a cup of their amazing coffee in order to wash down the excess sugar but will definitely leave your sweet tooth satisfied.
Overall, my second experience at Marben definitely surpassed the first. The food was sensational and will definitely keep me coming back. I will warn you though, it does seem that the front of house staff do not have everything under control as the kitchen. We had a very vast array of servers of which one definitely proved himself to be the black sheep of the restaurant. Nonetheless, our evening was outstanding and I can’t wait to return!
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