Back from a brief jaunt in Paris, A. – E’s partner in dining crime – was feeling a definite nostalgie for the beloved cuisine of his motherland, and E is never one to turn down French food so a booking was promptly made for Café du Marché in Farringdon where a good friend works as a chef and which has been recommded to me on several occasions. We took our place at an uber romantic table, with a piano pleasantly plinkyplonking in the background and a lady with a “Dallas”-style coiffe to my left who took home half her dinner for her poodle.
The food here is good, tasty and well presented by charming waiters – especially the one from Gascony – I do indeed have a soft spot for that most delightful of all accents. However, its a tad steep. And by a tad steep I mean that for £30 more I could have eaten at Joel Robuchon and had I closed my eyes, this meal could easily have come from Prix Fixe brasserie.
My duck terrine starter was tasty and coarse and full of good texture and herby flavours but came served with a stewed plum so bitter it concealed everything and left a sour taste in my mouth. A. had scallops and fared far better than me, they were juicy, sweet, tender, cooked just right and served with crispy bayonne ham.
We followed with more duck, A. took the leg of canard (from France, when everyone knows French ducks aren’t the best for serving – I know – schock horror!) in fact it tasted a bit like chicken… I had red mullet with flageolet – or farty beans as my peers like to call them. Well, considering a flageolet is not exaclty hard to come by, nor is it a rare delicacy, I only had about ten on my plate – a shame since they were rather tasty and the red mullet was extremely good.
The cheese platter was the real star of the meal, with a stinky runny epoisses practically begging to be devoured by me, and a creamy, nutty Brezain as well as the Valensan gost’s cheese that oozed pleasantly in all the right places…A. had the home made honeycomb ice-cream – simply delicious. And for all our efforts, and the exorbitant money we spent on a Crozes Hermitage Gilles Robin Papillon, 2008 wine, we were offered a glass of Champers on the house which sadly we couldn’t digest at that point, but worth noting…
Well, good food then, but not great. Good enough to feed a poodle with – if you’ve got that kind of money!