We’re inclined to admit that the French do food better – than everyone. That is, if the orgasmic experience we had at Le Café du Marché in Clerkenwell earlier this week is anything to go by.
The chic restaurant launched its new Christmas menu this Monday. Far from the British tradition of turkey and mince pies, this is a refined version of seasonal eating and culinary delights that will be available until 22 December.
The menu is hand-written, a personal touch that makes it all the more inviting. To start, we opted for the crab & spinach tartelette topped with a poached egg and butter sauce, and a traditional terrine of foie gras, with smooth apple purée and toasted sourdough.
This was followed up with slightly more seasonal mains of a beef bourguignon with celeriac puree and the confit of duck served alongside Brussels tops, cranberry compote and red wine jus. You’ll be tempted to lick the plate clean, don’t…do…it…*lick*
The beef slid apart beautifully, but the highlight of the evening was definitely the duck – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Our sincerest compliments to the chef. Please will you come and cook at our house on Christmas Day?
Each main comes with a bowl of french fries and crisp salad to share, an idea we appreciate as it makes the visit less of a posh affair and more of a comfortable gathering amongst friends. Which is exactly what Le Café du Marché is; an opportunity to sit with your loved one(s) and chat, drink and eat for hours. Just like the French intended.
Dessert arrived in the form of wiggly-wiggly-wiggly-wiggly maraschino Pannacotta with Morello cherry compote, and pear / lemon flavoured sorbet ou glacé. The sweet and sour flavours blended perfectly.
As for drinks, the venue offers a great wine list including a surprisingly delicious Chardonnay, a grape which has a questionable reputation, which was recommended to us by the sommelier.
The only downfall to an otherwise faultless visit was the slightly strained service. Although incredibly attentive (apart from forgetting to give us plates for the welcome bread basket) the service at times felt stiff. That being said, the somewhat awkward beginning was likely due to the ‘food review effect’ and we left the venue full, happy and a tad bit tipsy.
Which, in case you were wondering, is exactly how one should leave a Christmas dinner.
Le Café du Marché is hidden away on a quiet street in the heart of the City, a hop skip and a four minute walk from Barbican tube station. Open Monday to Saturday. The Christmas menu is available as 2-course (£38.95) / 3-course (£45.95).