PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
My first venture into The Marquis was on the tail end of Chinese New Year celebrations. At the top end of Asian-restaurant-infused Gouger Street, this place had broken from the pack. A modern room with European looking bar to the right, sensible looking dining area to the left, divided by a double-sided wall of wine. A dapper front-of-house man informed it was a bistro and bar, with the vast amount of wine also intended for take away and retail sales. The owners were from the plonk industry. There was also a café. I wondered if this mixed business would work. It has.
Wine list, sommelier, and restaurant awards later, the molecular acrobatics of the menu have gone. (These are well-exercised in Celsius down the street). What remains is a beautiful reduction of modern French bistro food. There are small amounts of strong, sophisticated dishes in each course, duck featuring. Spiced white bean puree, and duck liver parfait with cabernet caramel are the appetisers' most appetising; the second coming with toasted brioche. Butter lovers stay tuned.
Sighting eppoise in the entrees, my eyes roll blissfully backward. One of the world's smelliest, banned on French public transport and loved by Napoléon, this runny cows' milk cheese is fried at The Marquis. I should have studied the wine wall library for drops from Burgundy, home of its blessed pungency. A main of Valdespino duck breast reminds me why I am here. Potato twice cooked in the fat of this bird is a no brainer. Peas get their sexy on with bacon and lettuce, warmed with vermouth and cream. Trust the French. And the butter. Here a disc of it comes shamelessly sprinkled with rock salt, and infused with goat curd.