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.