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Happy eating,

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Marque IV (Hobart)
As some of you may be aware I recently travelled to Tasmania for a short holiday/ foodie trip. Unfortunately I was only there for four days and was restricted largely to Hobart itself. That being said it was a very enjoyable trip. I visited a number of restaurants and cafes and enjoyed some wonderful produce including fresh Tasmanian salmon, cheeses, leatherwood honey and Bruny Island fudge as well as some good fish, chowder and local wines at various casual restaurants. I even visited the Cadbury factory which was a journey within itself.

Hobart really is a lovely city. It has a beautiful river setting and is fairly peaceful and full of lovely little cafes, markets, galleries and museums. Needless to say it was a great trip, and a good opportunity to explore a city that I had never visited before.

For my final night in Hobart I decided to visit a restaurant which I have read many good things about. It is a restaurant that literally stared me in the face each day I was in Hobart as it is conveniently located along the pier of the hotel where I was staying. That restaurant is Marque IV, perched along the base of the Elizabeth Street pier.

Marque IV gets its name as it is the fourth restaurant to have occupied its stunning waterfront location. Opening in 2005, Marque IV can best be described as a "Modern Australian" restaurant with a range of European and Asian influences throughout their food. It is modern, spacious, boasts fantastic views across the Derwent river, and is expensive, particularly by Hobart standards, with entrees around $25 and most mains at least $40. On the evening of my visit I opt for the degustation menu ($135), with matched Australian wines. This menu proves popular on the Friday night, with many surrounding tables also ordering this way. I don't think anyone could have been dissapointed with the offerings. Every course presented was absolutely stunning. The matched wines were also very good, and represented good value at only $45 extra for eight generous pourings. It goes to show that you don't need to pair expensive French and foreign wines with every course to create an excellent vinous adventure. The largely Tasmanian based selection worked exceptionally well with the meal.

This statement from their website accurately sums up the dining experience: "To dine at Marque IV is to expect contemporary fine dining, surrounded by waterfront harbour views. The atmosphere is suited to relaxation with friends and colleagues, the ultimate escapism. The ambience is understated, with starched linen, low lighting and subtle jazz filling the room." And most importantly the food is brilliant.

I am sure it is the food you are most interested in reading about though, so here we go:

Things start off with a crusty bread roll and a delicate dish of olive and chilli oil:


Demi tasse of porcini mushroom, white bean, truffle oil and chives:
Seriosuly one of the most delicious things I have ever consumed. A creamy, fluffy, intense broth carefully flavoured by porcini and truffle. Orgasmic.
Wine: 2005 Milton Limited Release pinot noir chardonnay

Sashimi of Macquarie Harbour ocean trout, squid ink risotto, ginger and blood orange vinaigrette:
A tiny, fresh slice of ocean trout sitting on a perfect quinelle of sticky, squid ink risotto with dots of accompanying vinaigrettes on the plate. Very well executed.

Spring Bay baby abalone ceviche, zucchini flower, almond oil:
An exquisite dish. Paper thin slices of raw abalone are given a non-typical treatment, covered in a frothy dressing, finished with baby herbs and two perfectly fried segments of crispy zucchini flower and a drizzling of almond oil. Sublime.]
Wine: 2007 Clemens Hill sauvignon blanc

Seared Spring Bay scallops and red cooked brisket, Vietnamese salad lemongrass and lime leaf foam:
Another excellent dish. Two fresh, local scallops top a slab of slow cooked, tender brisket. The dish is sided by a fragrant herb salad and a magnificent lime, lemongrass foam. It is an excellent dish. I cannot really say much more.
Wine: 2007 Chartley Estate pinot gris

Caramelized pork belly, granny smith apple tapioca and candied walnuts:
A perfect cube of slow roasted pork, tender and gelatinous inside with perfectly crisp crackling. This is served atop a vibrant green apple puree and is finished with tapioca pearls that have been cooked with granny smith apples to provide colour and flavour. The dish is finished with two candied walnuts and some baby herbs to aid in presentation.
Wine: Derwent Estate pinot noir

Ashbolt elderflower 'champagne', Lark distillery gin sorbet and lime foam:
A yummy pallette cleanser with a difference. Presented as a cocktail it is sweet/ sour and very refreshing.

Carpaccio of cured King Island beef tenderloin, calamata olive mousse, sweet and sour courgette, pink eye potato wafers and salsa verde:
The main course. Four slices of the sweetest, most tender beef you could possibly want finished with an array of accompaniments; each of which makes the dish unique and amazing. I can still taste these flavours in the back of my mouth - the sweet and sour courgette complimenting the beef and the creaminess of the olive mousse. Once again, sublime.
Wine: 2006 Serafino cabernet sauvignon

'Sashimi' of mango, lychee and pickled ginger syrup:
So simple, yet so perfect. The freshest mango is given a wonderful treatment of sweet pickled ginger syrup and finished with some strawberry flakes and a fresh lychee. A dish to slowly pick apart and savour. Its all about freshness and seasonality and I love it.
Wine: 2000 Kreglinger Brut

Warm Valrhona Manjari tart, ginger syrup, muscatel and armagnac ice-cream:
Its rich and indulgent and really does taste every bit as good as it looks.
2005 Laurel Bank dessert riesling

I don't need to say too much more about the food. It is perfectly balanced in flavour, beautifully presented and tastes divine. Do yourself a favour and visit this place the next time you are in Hobart.

Marque IV serves inventive, quality food in a classy environment, with smart service to match. An exceptional restaurant in all aspects which is very hard to fault. Very Highly Recommended.

MY RATING: 18/20 - Food 9/10 Ambience 4.5/5 Service 4.5/5


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Name: Jon!

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