The “Soft and Sloe”: No. 3 Gin, Hayman’s Slow Gin, Edmond Briotett Rose Liquer, Rhubarb, Dillon’s Bitter Lemon Bitters

After nurturing the rising talents of GFR favourites Carl Heinrich (Richmond Station/Top Chef Canada), Ryan Donovan (Richmond Station/West Side Beef), and Alex Moliz (Farmhouse Tavern), Marben restaurant, situated down on the west end of Toronto’s Wellington Street, is going through yet another evolution.

Patron Simon Benstead has brought in his old frat house buddy (and now well-traveled Chef) Rob Bragagnolo to man the stoves… and then he commissioned über hot go-to interiors guy Brad Denton to fluff up the pillows… with these key people on his team, Benstead brings us Marben 3.0

So how does the new new Marben differ from the old new Marben? Well… Benstead, Bragagnolo, and Denton invited a roomful of food and drinks media down to their new new digs to find out via an 18 course tasting menu…

“Our menus embrace and reflect Canada’s international diversity… but it’s the point at which the big and bold, classic flavours of Old World bodegas, trattorias, osterias, and tabernas intersects the fresh and innovative ideas of modernist-vanguard kitchens, where I really get excited about being a chef. When you can balance soulwarming comfort and nostalgia with surprise, intrigue and wonder, you’ve hit on something very special.” – Chef Bragagnolo.

Marben Selects 21

“Carta da Musica” with Don Bocarte Anchovies (Photo: Ryan Emberley)

Marben Selects 20

Fiddlehead Gazpacho (Photo: Ryan Emberley)


The revitalised interior 1

The basement (almost finished), designed by Bradley Denton of Pencil Design


Restaurateur Simon Benstead welcomes the assembled media to the new Marben and introduces Chef Rob Bragagnolo


Beet Tartare and Olive Yolk


Assembling the Roasted Ontario Tomato and Chèvre Salad


Oistachio Dukkah, Preserved Lemon Cream, Baby Carrots


Sunchoke Cream and Crisp


Mozzerella and Truffle Brioche alongside Mini Aie Ciabatta with Serrano Ham (El Bulli 2003)


Razor Clam, Chorizo, Parsley-Clam Gel/Raspberry Point Oyster, Smoked Caviar, and Hazlenut/Crab, Mussel, Mandarin, and Grapefruit


Tequila Ceviche Cones


“Canadian Paella”: Crab, Mussel, and Lobster Suquet, Crispy Wild Rice, Red Pepper, Saffron-Paprika Aioli, Almond, Snap Peas


Seared Kolapore Springs Rainbow Trout, Potato Gnocci, Potato-Truffle Emulsion, Crispy Potato Skin, Snap Peas, Basil, Sea Asparagus, Almonds


Seared Naturally-Raised Beef Tenderloin, Potato Mille-Feuille, Green Asparagus, Morels, Nasturtium


Basil Cotton Candy


Lavender Crema Catalana (Street Art stencil inspired by Dan Innes’ “Childs’ Play”)



7oh5YyB7P0oBUxn26uHhBEv8V9LGkTmR5QbpU3g6sjIEdinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he went home from that extremely full.