It is an unfortunate truth that half of restaurants close within their first year of trading, so there is always something extra special about dining out somewhere that has stood the test of time. Enter long-standing French restaurant Le Cafe du Marche, which was founded by Charlie Graham-Wood way back in 1986 and remains an independent, family-run restaurant to this day.
Le Cafe du Marche is housed in a converted warehouse, built on the foundations of the coach houses for the neighbouring Charterhouse and once a storage warehouse for St Barts. Much of the building’s original features remain in tact, although the dining room here certainly doesn’t feel outdated or industrial, with Le Cafe du Marche managing to seamlessly blend its more rustic elements with romance and whimsy - think crisp white tablecloths, wicker chairs, potted plants and plenty of natural daylight (come nightfall, the room is romantically lit by candlelight). Add to that specials written up on blackboards and smartly dressed waiters and it would be easy to fool yourself into thinking you are dining out in rural France, rather than the heart of the Square Mile.
As for the menu here, expect a regularly changing offering which makes the most of seasonal ingredients and has a provincial French accent. The menu is a set offering, with diners able to choose between two or three courses; to begin your meal, you might order a warm bowl of soup or pate de campagne with rhubarb chutney served atop toasted sourdough. Main courses meanwhile (all served with frites and green salad) could encompass the market fish of the day or English rack of lamb with wild mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes.
To finish, discover the dessert of the day or end on a savoury note with a cheese board. If you prefer liquid afters, check out Le Cafe du Marche’s carefully considered list of regional French wines.