Set in a former warehouse on an idyllic alleyway off Charterhouse Square, Café du Marché is divided into three separate eateries: Le Café is the smartest and most atmospheric, with a pared-down country-meets-city aesthetic (bare brick walls, starched white tablecloths, original wooden floors, candles), and a jazz pianist to set the sophisticated but warm tone. The romantic location is popular with couples; customers tends toward the ‘lawyer with a house in the Dordogne’ type. The fixed-price three-course à la carte (the only option) features a nice balance of French provincial dishes. We opted for soupe du jour (vegetable), and purple-sprouting broccoli with hollandaise for starters. Entrecôte, for a main, came with roquefort-buttered spinach and crispy new spuds, while the swordfish daily special arrived with ratatouille. Dishes were beautifully presented and near faultless – save for the rather stringy swordfish. Chocolate mousse to follow was deliciously rich and appropriately small. The wine list (almost exclusively French) provides a satisfying read for oenophiles. Professional, pleasant staff deserve the hefty (‘optional’) 15% service charge. Complimentary extras such as a large salad bowl with the mains and constantly refilled bread baskets reinforce the feeling of being well looked after.
Housed in a converted warehouse and set over two floors, we also host music events twice a month in our upstairs dining room, Le Grenier.