This year, Marben’s been my go to restaurant for late night drinks when I’m downtown. I love the location being steps away from the central entertainment district and that you can order a charcuterie plate at 11pm. Seriously, cured meat is how I want to pair my cocktails. Thus, in continuing to celebrate the BF’s birthday we headed to Marben after Luma and Les Mis for a special surprise.

Atmosphere: We arrived way after the dinner rush and had a nice private table in the back of the restaurant. The dim lighting made the space feel intimate although conversations were a bit hard to carry over the music playing. The interior’s decor is industrial yet rustic with a lot of natural materials, wood, pendant lights and a beautiful art fixture along the ceiling that resembles waves.

Service: First of, a big THANK YOU to the staff at Marben for executing my special request perfectly. The BF was super surprised and I got major girlfriend points (or at least I’d like to think so). Our server was friendly and when I ran out of cocktails from their menu to order, he suggested the bartender could make something up for me. There was a bit of lull between our drinks and food arriving, but that was more due to our timing. The kitchen was still on break from dinner and starting to prep the “late night” menu offerings.

Food: Both the BF and I like our charcuterie and he doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth. I was too lazy to tackle bacon roses, so even better, I thought of a birthday charcuterie platter. When making my reservation for Marben via opentable, I entered the special request but was only about 50% confident that it would be executed. While we sipped our drinks, I constantly checked out the charcuterie board that was being plated on the kitchen window but I couldn’t tell what was happening. Then our server brought out the board with a lit birthday candle, a happy birthday message written out in mustard and it was even better than I had expected.

Each meat presented was in turn salty, gamey, fatty and all were full of flavour. I loved the whole grain mustard. For cocktails, I started with their daiquiri and the BF had the Hemingway’s. Both drinks were strong and not overly sweet. I followed with the request for a strawberry drink and enjoyed the surprise concoction as well.

I had a great late night cap at Marben and I truly appreciate them indulging my, perhaps odd, request. I still need to go back for that burger.

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