Restaurant Review: Le Cafe Du Marche, EC1

10:48 10 May 2012

The cafe is tucked down a cobbled alley

The cafe is tucked down a cobbled alley

Archant

»Tucked down a cobbled little alley, off an attractive square, in a surprisingly quiet part of Finsbury, lies Le Café Du Marché – a cracking little French restaurant.

It’s been around since 1987 but because of its secluded – though very attractive – location, the manager bemoaned to us ‘‘no one knows we are here’’.

Well, it was certainly new to me, but the place seemed pretty full when we turned up on a Wednesday night. And with good reason – the decor is lovely, lots of bare brick work and rustic wall hangings and ornaments – and the place has a nice cosy feel. Another great touch is the live band – the two-piece sauntering through jazz standards with Gallic flair created a seductive mood.

We nestled in our corner table and pondered the menu – mainly provincial French dishes, but with the odd modern twist.

We had the soup de jour – spinach, leek and Stilton – which was creamy and mouth-watering, and the lamb’s tongue, which had a slightly fatty texture but was very pleasant with the sauce gribiche.

Restaurant info:

Le Cafe Du Marche

22 Charterhouse Square

EC1M 6DX

Tube: Barbican/Farringdon

Tel: 020 7608 1609

Web: www.cafedumarche.co.uk

Mains: 2 course £28.50, 3 for £34.85

Wine: from £19.95 a bottle

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: No

I faced a genuine dilemma choosing a main course, eyeing up the chicken fricassee and confit duck leg, but on our friendly waitress’s suggestion we went for the magnificent côte de boeuf. An awe-inspiring cut of meat, cooked beautifully rare with a slightly charred exterior adding intrigue to the flavour, every bite was an absolute treat. It came on a grand wooden board with a pot of tangy Béarnaise, a hint of rocket, and of course French fries. We also had a couple of sides – wilted spinach and carrots with shallots – which were both good.

It would have been a travesty not to look at the cheeses, in which our French cousins traditionally excel. We managed a sharp, potent Camembert and a brutally strong epoisses which were fantastic, and combined delightfully with our juicy South African Syrah.

Eating at Café Du Marche really is a joy and they seem to epitomise the best parts of French cuisine – an emphasis on quality ingredients and strong flavours without being pretentious or exclusive.

And with a prix fixe of less than £30 for two courses and menu changes every five weeks, it’s the sort of place you can keep going back to. I dare say it won’t be very long before I darken their door again.

Related articles

Latest Stories

12:32
The cyclist's helmet camera captured the sickening moment that a car slammed into him [Picture from Youtube]

A cyclist was hit by a car in Romford, slammed into the windscreen and miraculously landed on his feet - and caught the whole thing on his helmet cam.

Read more
11:22
The trio lured their victim to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A woman lured her fiancé to a secluded part of Hampstead Heath before beating him to near death with the help of two other men so they could steal £200 from him.

Read more
A million passengers are expected to fly out from London airports this weekend (Picture via Getty Images)

Expect travel chaos this weekend as almost one million Londoners are expected to fly out from the capital, with roads and railways also expected to be jam-packed as the summer getaway begins.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more
Guess the manager quiz. Here's a hint, it's not these four.

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
A normal day at London Liverpool Street station

This quiz is for people who think they know the Tube and rail inside out.

Read more