I was taken out of London and into a very culinary focused village in France, when I stepped through the doors at Cafe du Marche. The interior is warm and friendly, coats tidied away, tabled white clothed, exposed brick work and wood working together harmoniously to bring a bustling and relaxing environment.
The French provincial menu changes every 5 weeks, with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients.
Some items are consistently available (for the routine monster in you), one worth of note is the 2 person Cote de bouef with béarnaise.
I tucked into a Moules mariniere starter- very generously served, with a lovely balance of herbs in the pots, so much so that I considered drinking from the bowl (serves me right for dining with ladies- I had to miss out on that!). Others had the
melanzane parmigianna, a delicate layering of aubergine with parmesan, and ate their way through it with full smiles.
For mains I had pheasant, which was a first for me, so this comparison is purely about taste. There was far too much for me, cooked perfectly, seasoned softly, and served on an apple choucroute. There was an odd addition though, a lone sausage. I assume this is a tradition of some kind, but I wasn’t even close to half way through my dish before I was full, so sadly I can’t say what it added to the meal.
One of the other girls had the poisson du jour, and for this day the fish was bass. She cleaned her plate, praising the a subtle flavour, and well prepared dish.
Somehow we managed dessert. My eyes lit up for the dessert du jour, a baked alaska. Having had this is dubious restaurants as a child I was really keen to see how the professionals do it. Pipped meringue crowned the dome of still cold ice cream, sitting atop of a perfect pasty base, with raspberry coulis spilling over the surface. I may never be able to eat it elsewhere!
Also worthy of note was the more sophisticated bavarois du jour. It is basically “made in a hermetically-sealed mold that was plunged into salted crushed ice to set”, as it was created before electric refrigeration. So really it’s pre ice cream, ice cream? Anyway it was tasty and well worth a try. Perfect for a romantic evening or a lazy lunch with friends.