Today I had lunch at Le Marché Français in Haymarket after a recommendation from my housemate, E.
Their lunch deal of a starter and a main for £8.95 seemed like a winner, so with an empty tummy and nowhere to be, I popped off the bus and headed in to have a look.
I have to say the setting was lovely- understated cafe, warmth, and a slight lunchtime buzz. As you walk past the window, the mounds of freshly baked bread do invite a head turn, not unlike when I see the words 'shoe sale'.
The menu was nicely varied covering salads, pates, snails, pastries, baguettes as well as mains and desserts.
Picking the starter was easy, as soon as I saw smoked salmon and prawn salad, I was sold. The main was harder though... Beef Bourguignon, confit duck... all the options seemed divine. When the waiter came to my table to take my order, he mentioned chicken in blue cheese, bacon and onion sauce with risotto was their meal of the day, and that made my choice all the easier... cheese... bacon... yep that's me.
My orange and carrot juice was swiftly brought to my table with a basket of bread. The bread was super fresh, crusty on the outside and very soft on the inside and the butter was amazing.
My starter quickly followed. Despite the use of little baby canned prawns, the concept and flavours of the salad were fresh and delicious. Red cabbage, mixed leaves, prawn, salmon in a light but creamy dressing. The seasoning was perfect. The size for a starter was perfect. A real treat.
Up until this point, my waiter had been very efficient, but unfortunately my plate was not taken away from in front of me until he realised my main was on its way.
The main, was... it has it's ups and downs. To look at, the plate was certainly not the prettiest meal I have ever had served to me... Well:
I'm not saying it was undesirable, but 2 wet dishes plopped on a plate. Anyway moving forward. The risotto was beautifully flavoured but the rice was a little overcooked. The chicken dish was a lovely concept of flavours and the chicken tasted flavoursome and was very moist, but the sauce was very rich and quite salty. I did discover not long into the meal that the light vinaigrette on the salad actually cut through the strong sauce quite nicely. And if each fork-full had exactly 1:1:1 of all 3 parts of the meal, it was in fact delightful.
I do rate this lovely cafe, and even with the small shortfalls of the main, I will be back to try more of the menu items.