Review: Le Cafe Du Marche

By Louisa Emery on March 9, 2012 11:38 AM |

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FRENCH/EUROPEAN
Le Cafe Du Marche
★★★★✩

IN A NUTSHELL
A cosy corner of Blackfriars offering a candle lit Gallic escape

As the perfect setting to coo and squeal over an old friend's sparkling new engagement ring, Le Cafe Du Marche definitely fitted the bill.

The cute French bistro had all the ingredients - intimate tables, rustic charm and a well positioned bread basket to catch the bling when it slipped through my fingers while taking a closer look in the ambient candlelight.

The interior designer has clearly done their homework - so much so that you could easily imagine you were dining somewhere just off the Champs Elysees instead of tucked away at the bottom of a flagstone alley, a hop and a skip from Barbican Tube.

The charming setting was improved further by the gentle plonking of the double bass in the centre of the room.

The food is French but with a twist - other continental influences and creative flair make for an intriguing menu to suit a variety of palates.

The chef almost peaked too soon - our starters were the most memorable of the three courses - the smoked salmon special was delightful and the sauté of Jerusalem artichoke with wild mushroom and poached egg had a beautiful balance of rich textures and refined flavours.

Both opting for fish mains, the dishes delivered just missed the mark set by the first course.

The cod lacked the flavour of the starters and the salmon was floating in a pool of oil. Fistfuls of perfectly cooked French fries and a crunchy green salad helped to redress the balance, however.

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Portions were the perfect size to allow for three courses quite comfortably and having managed to avoid the temptation of the cheese board, a layered chocolate mousse and passion fruit cheese cake were the perfect excuse to sidestep any conversations concerning staying trim for the wedding day.

Service was attentive without being overbearing and the recommended wine an unfamiliar choice and well suited to our meal.

The menu changes every five weeks and prices are reasonable - two courses for £28.50 and three for £34.85 making this restaurant a great option even when you don't have something to celebrate.

Le Café Du Marché, 22 Charterhouse Square, Charterhouse Mews,

Smithfield, London, EC1M 6DX,

020 7608 1609, cafedumarche.co.uk.