The first time I went to Marché Restaurant was back in university when I was invited to a thank you lunch for taking part as a frosh leader during SMC Frosh ’08. It was the first time that I was transported to a mini marketplace-like restaurant where you were handed something like a credit card upon entry and you could stroll around through the different parts of the restaurant where you could pick what you wanted to eat. The food would be made fresh — for the most part and depending on what it was — in front of you. Then you would hand your card over to the person at the counter so that they could swipe it into their system to recognize that you ordered that dish. You picked your own seat and when you were finished eating, you bring your card to the line-up of cashiers where you pay for what you ordered in full. You can fill up your glasses with water at drinking fountains located around the restaurant. There’s a huge assortment of different stations with meat, pastas, pizzas, salads, hot and cold drinks, noodles (and even pho), and of course a dessert station. Everything is extremely colourful and inviting. It’s hard to go inside and not take a stroll through all the stations before deciding what to order.
My friend Betty and I stopped by Marché just before we headed to the Beyoncé concert since it was a close by at Brookfield Place to the Air Canada Centre. We actually had a great plan to dine for some delicious Southern food, but due to her GO bus breaking down and having to wait for another one, we were low on time and chose Marché as a good spot to have a quick but satisfying dinner. I also hadn’t been to Marché in a while, so I was happy to refresh my memory of their food. :)
We were lucky that we arrived when we did because a line formed up behind us almost immediately while we were waiting for the host to seat us. There were a surprising number of people dining in on a Monday night! The place was very lively and we were taken to a table in one of the many private rooms that was decorated like a cabin. The host very kindly explained to me again how the process of ordering food worked after I informed him I’d been there in the past.
One of the dinner specials that Marché is currently promoting for the holiday season includes a “Seafood Fix and Béchamel Savoury Crepe”. It sounded delicious, so after grabbing a bowl of Marché soup, I waited in line as my seafood crepe was being prepared right in front of me.
I really liked the Marché soup. I think I ordered a regular portion. It had lots of chopped up vegetables and slices of sausage in it. The sausage slices were surprisingly soft and the entire soup reminded me of Chinese borscht soup that I’ve had in HK-style cafes. It was pretty good.
Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the “Seafood Fix and Béchamel Savoury Crepe”. It was presented nicely and cut open. The portion was very, very large too. The seafood portion was a mix of shrimps, squid, and clams. Although the crepe itself was extremely soft and warm, the insides with the seafood and ample spinach made it a bit dry in general. The flavour of the seafood wasn’t intense at all so it made the entire crepe taste a little bland. The béchamel sauce was something that was new to me and helped enhance the taste of the seafood crepe a little bit. The sauce was cold though and because it was served in a little plastic cup, it wasn’t very easy to smear or dip pieces of the crepe into it. I’m not sure if this is something I would recommend since it was generally dry-tasting and bland in general. The insides of it were very generous though; lots of shrimps and squid and spinach. Actually, I’ve been having so much squid and octopus lately; I need to watch out for my cholesterol levels!
Betty ordered the schnitzel and potato roti. Unfortunately, although the schnitzel was very well fried, I also found it very flavourless. The same thing with the roti. Betty had to make sure that she grabbed a glass of water to chug it down with her meal. :/
We did make room for dessert even though we were a bit cramped on time. We chose one of the cakes! The dessert station was so popular when we lined up and it was easy to see why. There were so many delicious looking cakes and pastries! Mmm. The dessert station is probably one of my favourite parts of Marché. :) You can’t really go wrong with dessert, and God forbid if a restaurant does, they shouldn’t be allowed to serve any more of it! :P
The chocolate cake was very, very light and was topped with these little light chocolate swirls. It was so light that I felt that my fork was sliding into the softest pillow made of clouds when I took my first stab at it. It was very creamy and very good. The bottom was made with some layer of red velvet cake-like consistency. It was very good and I do recommend this. :)
Not sure when I’ll return to Marché again, but I do like the variety of food they have. Maybe their entrées are a bit bland because they use a lot of wholesome and organic ingredients and less of MSG and artificial flavouring? Who knows. I do know that it’s such a popular establishment that they won’t be out of business any time soon. It turns out that they also have a slew of chains in Europe too! Readers, let me know what your experience of Marché is. :)