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Mike and I were trying to decide where to go after work on a Friday. We initially wanted to go somewhere just to grab drinks, but ended up at Marben instead. Located in on Wellington, between Bathurst and Spadina, I had never noticed this restaurant before… probably because I had never walked past C Lounge on Wellington.

Ryan’s Charcuterie

The restaurant was dimly lit and the décor had a rustic feel to it. Since it was pretty empty inside and the weather was quite nice, we opted to sit on the patio.

I started the evening off with a cocktail, which I believe was called the White Wine Sparkler. It came in a large wine glass and contained a bit of fresh fruit juice in it. It was very refreshing and a great start to my evening. After ordering, a server brought us some bread, which is house-made daily. It was served with a seasoned soy-bean oil. The bread was quite nice – crusty outside, soft on the inside.

I love charcuterie and whenever I see house-cured meats on the menu, I have to order them! So, we started with Ryan’s Charcuterie – house-made venison & heart pepperoni, pork terrine, Moscow sausage, capicolla, bresaola ($30). It was served with mustard, crostini, pickled vegetables and a delicious caramelized onion chutney. All the meat had a great flavour to it. There wasn’t anything on the board I didn’t really enjoy. My favourite had to be the pork terrine. The flavour of it was amazing… I couldn’t stop eating it!

Alex’s Pork Rib fritters

The second dish we ordered was Alex’s Pork Rib fritters cilantro, chipotle aioli, arugula ($14), which came with five fritters. When I first poked my fork into one of the fritters I was surprised by how soft it was. I was a little disappointed since I was expecting a firmer fritter but it turned out to be delicious! It was more like a potato fritter with some pieces of pork in it. It tasted even better with the chipotle aioli, which had a bit of a kick to it. Definitely a great dish for sharing.

Our last dish was John’s Burger – Branston pickle, braised ribs, aged cheddar, coleslaw, fries ($17). There was a table of six sitting near us, and they all ordered the burger, so I knew we had made the right choice. The server informed us that they built the burger around the braised/ground-up ribs. The portion wasn’t very big, but it sure made up for it in taste. The patty was incredibly juicy and flaovourful. The bun held up very well against the juicy patty and the inclusion of the caramelized onion chutney made the burger perfection. Easily one of the best burgers I’ve had in the city…although I’m not sure if I can say this was better than Burger’s Priest. I’m a little torn between the two!

John’s Burger

The burger was served with a generous portion of fries, which were the kind I preferred – skinny and crispy. What made them even better was the side of truffle aioli it came with. The burger also came with a small portion of coleslaw which was made with a grainy mustard. This was another enjoyable side.

What a great spot in the King West area. I’m so glad we ended up here this evening. The food was delicious – especially the burger; the service was great – the servers were genuinely passionate about the food, came by often to refill our water and to ensure everything was okay. The next time I come to Marben, it’ll definitely be for the pig roast they hold on the last Sunday of each month!

Enjoying dinner on the patio

At a glance:
• Great food – must order the burger!
• Most of the dishes are meant for sharing
• Nice patio
• Located just off of the King west strip, on Wellington

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 4.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 4.5 stars

Marben on Urbanspoon

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