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 from SNAP.PA

Ello is the new social network on everyone’s lips, but the question is, why?

Read more

Here are some tips from an expert on how to create the tricky Middle Eastern dessert.

Read more

The man in the moon may have been caused by a long plume of magma deep inside the moon coming to the surface.

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Top Stories

Quizzes

Andy Johnson pictured during his first stint at Crystal Palace (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Test your knowledge of Crystal Palace with our fun quiz on the Eagles’ history.

Read more
(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more