The Marmalade Pantry hits the right spots with its business district outlet. We tried the linguine with crabmeat and the pan-seared tuna salad nicoise. Both were excellent as anticipated. However the noise level at the lunch crowd makes conversation a struggle as you try to hear yourself above the din. Not quite the place to have a serious business conversation, especially if you are sensitive to the noise.
My first time at Marmalade Pantry. Have heard of it previously but always thought it'd be too pricey and I've always had the impression that it's more a tai-tai hang out.
I had lunch there yesterday with 2 friends. We had to find a central location to meet within the CBD and so ended up there. My ever-resourceful colleague made a reservation...and a good thing too. The place was packed and there were 2 others waiting when we got there. From the other reviews I've seen on this place, perhaps 2 others before us isn't that bad.
We ordered the chicken pot pie, the pesto chicken wrap and the crabmeat linguine. I see a few others have already reviewed the crabmeat linguine, which was what I ordered and I generally concur with their reviews. I believe they use fresh crab meat as there were little bits of crab...umm...not quite the outer shell..but it's the part which holds the meat together on the inside...if you know what I mean.
While it's great to know that they use real crabmeat, the downside of it would be having to watch for the hard bits and extracting them which can be a little irritating after a while. Otherwise, the linguine was nice with the right amount of chilli. For the price of $22, I didn't think it's super fantastic. I think I had better crabmeat pasta at Big Fish (along Upper East Coast) and if I remember right (then again my memory of prices isn't too accurate...I tend to remember things being cheaper than they are really are!) the crabmeat pasta at Big Fish should be a little cheaper.
My friends seemed to enjoy the chicken pot pie and chicken wrap. Do note that the chicken wrap comes with pumpkin which my friend doesn't eat and so I had the honour of eating it. I would have to say the pumpkin was pretty well done, as in, not too soft and not undercooked either.
For dessert, we shared a slice of chocolate truffle cake which was tempting me from the moment we sat down. Our table was right next to the cakes display counter and...no prizes for guessing, I had the place of honour, i.e. squarely facing the cakes.
No regrets ordering the chocolate truffle cake. Although it seems somewhat pricey at $7 plus per slice, the slice is huge! It was a generous wedge of pure chocolate decadence. Mmmm...brings back nice memories just recounting it. The cake was solid and not crumbly (which can be quite irritating) and we could easily divide it into 3 slices to share between us.
It has very little cake (I love that!) and is pretty much composed of a chocolate mousse which is creamy but not overwhelming. And of course the whole cake is dusted with cocoa powder. I would say this is one of the better cakes around and I would certainly go back there just to have the chocolate truffle cake again!
Service was ok. Prompt and efficient. One guy, I presume to be the manager, dropped by our table and mumbled (or so it seemed like mumbling cos the place really is very noisy). My colleagues were befuddled but I caught some words like "everything ok?". I would have to give an "A" for effort...at least he tried to check that we were doing alright.
The reason why I am giving a 7.5 rating for Food/Beverage is all because of the cake and the reason why I am definitely returning to Marmalade Pantry is also because of the cake.
Friends wanted to have lunch at Marmalade Pantry so I reluctantly agreed. Food is undeniably good but I think it's a tad overpriced for similar lunch fare at other cafes and bistros.
Food: Had the crab caesar salad which I quite like with its generous shavings of crab and pine nuts. One friend had the salmon teriyaki with chilled soba which was also very well done, while another friend had the fryup (tad heavy, but oh well duh). We also picked at the chicken pot pie, which was pretty good and shared the delicious sticky date toffee pudding.
Service: Prompt and efficient, which I guess is perfect for the eat-and-go lunch crowd.
Ambience: Noisy, filled with bankers.
Like I said, food's quite good but overpriced and am not really keen going back to office smelling of food as place not very well ventilated. Reservations recommended, this place is quite popular. Might be better for dinner, could be less crowded.
we had lunch a marmalade pantry on friday because i really wanted to have pasta and we couldnt get reservation at the coffee club - even though we tried our luck by showing up in person at the latter (my secretary said they are fully booked till 2pm but you can try your luck walking in) and my friend said forget it we'll never get a seat, lets try marmalade pantry. and i was okay lets go.
well marmalade pantry is more expensive than the coffee club (another reason WHY i wanted to have lunch at coffee club) and honestly i dont think the price is entirely justified. then again, im no food connoisseur and i am a big cheapo at heart.
so anyway we had:
Homemade Dips with Pita Wedges
Linguini with Crabmeat Tomato Chilli and Pinenuts
Spaghetti Alio Olio with Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly and Chilli
The homemade dips with pita wedges (at $9) were actually pretty good. especially if you like pita, and dips that taste light and yoghurty. the pita wedges (like around 9 slices) came served with two dips - one was a light green, yoghurty tasting, slightly mintish with very finely shredded cucumber (i think) in it, and the other was savoury with something that looked like a cross between eggplant and a dullish dark green soggy capsicum. (We really couldnt figure out what the second dip comprised of) but neither could we make up our minds to which we preferred - they were both good and complimented each other very well. i especially thought the light green yoghurty dip was very refreshing. This appetiser was quite the pleasant surprise.
I had the linguini with crabmeat tomato chilli and pinenuts. ive had this particular dish before at the palais renaissance outlet and i hated the stupid pinenuts (even though i hear that pinenuts are supposed to make you smart) so i asked them to serve it on the side. this they did, and i gave the small petri dish of it to my friend who poured it all over her spaghetti alio olio which i thought was blargh.
sorry, went off track. i thought the linguini with crabmeat was okay. especially if you like tomato based pasta and seafood i.e. crabmeat. my friend asked me if the crabmeat was fresh or was it something processed and honestly i couldnt tell. I think it may have been fresh and if that is the case, the $22 is justified. i thought the dish was okay. nothing to scream about, but it wasnt bad. above average.
my friend had the spaghetti alio olio with kurobuta pork and i told her dude, the only reason why i didnt order that was because i saw someone having that on the way in and the kurobuta pork belly is roast pork man! and well i was right. because it came served with pieces of what looked like chunky bits of roast pork and she said, after eating some of it, that roast pork did taste better. so it was kinda bit of a let down. i had some of her spaghetti and truth be told i dont care very much for alio olio based pasta. (i think they are somewhat tasteless and boring) so i make no comments really except that i suppose the dish was normal.
if you would like to go to marmalade pantry during lunch on a weekday i would suggest also that you make reservations. we nearly did not get a table. we were only offered one on the condition that we could clear out within 40 minutes. that was fine by us - how long we stayed depended on how long they took to serve the food. and they did serve the food relatively fast - so good for them.
staff was not terribly attentive, and were usually quite busy. we had to wave our hands in the air quite abit. water took too long to be served, bill we self paid at the counter. oh and my biggest gripe was how freaking noisy it was. we had to basically shout over the din to hear each other but we also had alot fun listening to the other table next to us describing someone who was going out with one of their friends as a money grabbing whore.
but otherwise, i dont think i would return, unless i cant get a place anywhere else for pasta. its too noisy. and a little expensive. i cant afford to eat like that every day!
as a final note, i usually ask the people i eat with how they would rate the place in terms of the hungrygowhere scoreboard. and my friend thought the food was 6, value 5 and service 5. and i told her you are too harsh man. so the scores you see are my own.
Sticky date pudding is a must and the steak sandwich! I didn't realise this establishment was linked to the sambo shop Toast, quality is there as well as consistency. A good place to grab a quick bite to eat.