Home United KingdomLondonEC1 Le Café Du Marché, Clerkenwell

Le Café Du Marché, Clerkenwell

by Krista

Le Café Du Marché
22 Charterhouse Square

Date of Last Visit: Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Victim: Theresa

The Damage: £50 each

The Background: Some of us have those people in our lives that we've know forever. The ones that have seen you in braces. And with bad perms.

Theresa is one of those people for me. I've known her since Kindergarten. Age 5. We went to the same grade school. And the same university. We lived in the same city–Chicago–for eight years. This means–if you must know–that we've known each other for 30 years. That's crazy. I really don't feel that old. But yes, now 30 years after our first meeting, she's in London for exactly two nights and we're catching up on life and love and love and life and all things in between.

Theresa is staying at The Zetter and I know she's bound to be super-jet-lagged. So we stick to the neighborhood. St. John's for drinks, and then Le Café Du Marché for dinner.

The Entrance: Through a courtyard off a square and through an unmarked door. It feels secretive. And so do I.

The Crowd: We are the  youngest people at Le Café Du Marché. By far. Except maybe the people sitting next to us, who I decide are having an affair. I worry that I've made the wrong choice, especially when the restaurant dims the lights and starts singing Happy Birthday to the old guy across the way from us.

But the service is sweet and attentive and knows when to not interrupt and when to hover in case we do want to be interrupted. So we're okay.

The Food: I start with our server's recommendation…mackerel and potatoes. And it is GREAT. The mackerel is deliciously salty and rich and fresh and smoky. The potatoes are small and cute. I am happy. This is followed by the pork cutlet served with risotto and green salad. The pork cutlet is dry, although the breading is crispy. The risotto is monotonous. (But remember, generally, I find all risotto monotonous.) The green salad is GREAT and I wish I hadn't left it for last. (The salad was served almost as a side, so I forgot about it until I had finished everything else.)

The Lighting: It's very dim. And very romantic. I tried surrounding my dishes with candlelight just to get a good photo, but failed. Gentlemen, you should add this restaurant to your mental file of "places I should take her to when…" 

The Loos: I wish I had taken some photos. I really liked the retro fittings.

The Verdict: Hmmm. I liked the romance of it. I loved my starter. And the service. I didn't like the price. My main was okay. My father would like it here, so that would probably be the instigator for any return trip.

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American in London September 21, 2009 - 8:36 am

The Modern Pantry (next door to the Zetter) is a reliable dinner spot in that ‘hood. But Le Cafe du Marche looks charming from the outside, at least.

Krista September 21, 2009 - 9:03 am

I do like the Modern Pantry (although service was pretty obnoxious both
times I’ve been…going back this week so we shall see!). I really like the
room at Cafe du Marche. Very atmospheric. I’d go back for lunch so I can
actually see things…it was pretty damn dark once the sun went down!

Mr Noodles September 21, 2009 - 1:36 pm

Try the cote de boeuf at Cafe du Marche – it’s excellent. The Bleeding Heart near Farringdon station is another good option for this part of town.

Gourmet Chick September 22, 2009 - 2:57 pm

I loved this place when I visited – so atmospheric you feel like you are in Paris rather than the heart of London. Although it was a work lunch so I didn’t actually notice the fact that all the diners were older (which was probably correct). Great wine list as well.

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