A Sneak Preview of Market Café, Broadway Market

So, last Thursday I got a chance to go to the “hard hat preview” for Market Café, a new restaurant and bar opening up to serve “rustic London-Italian food and drink” on Broadway Market where La Vie en Rose used to be.

Although I was slightly disappointed that the hard hat preview did not entail actually donning a hard hat, this was made up for by being quickly met upon entry with this:

Not only was there gin in this punch, referred to as The Hackney Cup by our bearded bartender, but also (I surmise) at least 1.5 of your 5 a day. It’s like a partial salad with fruit and gin and other stuff that made up a refreshing drink most suitable for the upcoming spring and summer days in London Fields.

I happened to be the first person to arrive at the preview event, which meant I got to have a nice walk around with my camera and Cup as Alice, the kind person from Bacchus PR who invited me, told me about the space and what was planned for the opening the following week–which, incidentally, is this Thursday. I got to have a nose around the kegs of beer that were set off to the side, peek in the room that was unfinished and took some photos as other people trickled in.

Although the space was unfinished at the time of my visit, one could already see that there was a good attention to detail. There was a good mix of reclaimed and vintage pieces alongside functional new bits, and I really appreciated the colours used in the interior. The tables and chairs used for the café area were just lovely vintage pieces mingling mid-century modern pieces with late ’60s and ’70s accents. It was all nice. Really nice.

Yeah. *ahem*

There were many things about the Market Café launch I liked on a personal level, because not only did I see and meet food writers and bloggers, some of whom I’ve met before at other events and launches, but also some Hackney folks who may not necessarily focus solely on food and drink. I thought that was a nice touch in bringing together people who are active in the community you are opening in.

After a few more Hackney Cups, I settled down at a table with a couple of fantastic friends as food had started to be served. As opposed to canapés, this preview included a sit-down dining experience. Although there wasn’t a vegetarian main to choose from for this preview, my fellow vegetarian compatriot and I were treated with double helpings of this tasty dish, featuring sage and mushroom:

It wasn’t on the little menu that was handed out to everyone, so if anyone from Market Café could tell me what this was, and whether it will be on their menu, that would be magnificent (Update: The good folks at Market Café have told me it was rotolo). I would have asked the night of the launch, but I was busy eating it and a second helping that came afterwards.

More carnivorously-inclined food was served by the lovely staff, but what was really spectacular was the lemon sorbet that managed to be both light and rich. The lemon sorbet I had at Market Café was so rapturously full of flavour, I may have sighed a bit at how superb it was.

And did I mention I nearly had a tweegasm at how it was served? I mean, seriously, a teacup and a wee candied lemon cap. The pith inside the lemon prevented me from eating the lemon skin in its entirety, although I did eat the tiny lemon cap–as well as take a testing bite out the side of the lemon. The sorbet itself, though, was a true treat. It was, if I may coin the term, a lemon sorbetgasm.

The evening ended as people trickled out into the night, awkwardly trying to open a front door that hadn’t yet had its doorknobs installed. Although by the time of this writing the space has likely progressed well into being a properly finished restaurant/café, I must say I found it quite romantic and charming to see the space as a work in progress, with unfinished counter tops and windows filmed in a dreamy opaque whiteness. The overall effect of the space was immensely cosy–something I hope it doesn’t lose once it’s fully ready to fling its doors open to the public later this week.

Market Café
2 Broadway Market
London E8 4QG
Opening 1 March 2012
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesdays ~ Sundays, closed Mondays

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