Marque IV, Hobart
February 14, 2008
The Gourmet Traveller, a useful Australian magazine website, rates Marque IV as the second best restaurant in Tasmania. So Linda and I went there for dinner on February 10, 2008. A former warehouse on a pier jutting out from downtown Hobart has been converted into loft hotel rooms on the upper level. On the lower level are the hotel lobby, a bar and Marque IV. The décor is sleek modern with one wall opening onto the kitchen.
We ordered glasses of Milton pinot noir chardonnay sparkling Freycinet wine and a bottle of 2005 Frogmore reserve Pinot Noir, which turned out to be really delicious. The menu is set up with “amuses,” entrées, mains and desserts. Marque IV also offers a nine-course tasting menu. I congratulate the Australians who understand that the entrée comes before the main course and don’t use the silly American habit of describing the main course as the entrée.
Linda’s entrée was a special of the evening: Lightly seared Spring Bay scallops on a bed of smoked salmon wrapped around scrambled eggs with wasabi greens on a bed of chive beurre blanc. She said it was very good although the sauce was too sweet.
Mine was Seared Spring Bay scallops and red cooked brisket, Vietnamese salad lemongrass and lime leaf foam. The combination of scallops and meat can work well, but it needs more scallops and less brisket than was served here.
Linda’s main course was Seared Doo-Town venison loin, Ferron carnaroli and Morel mushroom risotto, asparagus, griottes and purple radish cress. She liked the combination. The portion was huge. A bowl of vegetables was put in the middle of the table for both of us.
My main was Confit of Magret duck breast, steamed pork bun, mandarin, hoi sin sauce and braised texta leeks. This was an extraordinary combination. A steamed barbecued pork bun, such as one might get at a dim sum house, was a base for slices of duck breast with hoisin sauce underneath. The flavors all went together well in a too complicated inscrutable way.
We skipped dessert. The meal was fine, but somewhat overcomplicated and fussy, which we have found in several Australian restaurants. The welcome had been friendly and the service efficient, although a bit slow. It was pleasantly quiet. We could watch the sunset through the west glass wall. We are glad we went, but it is frustrating that these great fresh local ingredients did not receive more respectful treatment.