What's on the Menu? Marina O'Loughlin says Market Café is trying to be all things to all scenesters

07 May 2012
What's on the Menu? Marina O'Loughlin says Market Café is trying to be all things to all scenesters

2 May
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/9236152/Elliots-London-SE1-restaurant-review.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Marina O'Loughlin says Market Café, London E8, the first solo venture from Benugo co-founder Hugo Warner, is trying to be all things to all scenesters ](http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/restaurants/897825-market-research-counts-for-very-little-at-market-cafe)The menu is an appealing one, allowing itself a good old romp round trad Brit (steak and kidney pudding) to trad, er, Tuscan: a ‘Florentine' steak to share, enthusiastically priced - £40 for two - for a gaff that affects to be a recreation of the East End working man's caff. Affogato rubs shoulders with rice pudding and jam. There are home-made custard doughnuts - now where have I spotted those before? (Cough) St John (cough). The dishes are divided into ‘small', ‘large', ‘sundries' and ‘pudding'. From ‘small' we try the truffled rarebit, perfectly pleasant cheese on good sourdough and not appearing to feature any actual truffle. And, of course, no relation to Spuntino's rave hit truffled egg toast. (Which, to be scrupulously fair, owes at least a small debt to New York's ‘ino, which created it and has been selling it for more than 12 years.)
I'm also moved to wonder yet again whether something doused in truffle oil should be allowed to call itself ‘truffled'.
Rating: 2/5
Price: £70 for two

The Guardian
5 May
[John Lanchester really likes ceviche and really likes Peruvian restaurant Ceviche, London W1 ](http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/may/04/ceviche-london-w1-restaurant-review)There's lots to be interested in after the ceviche. Grills are big in Peru, as elsewhere in Latin America; here, they feature in proteiny skewers of meat.
I've only eaten beef heart in slow-cooked versions, but at Ceviche it comes in a thin slice on a skewer, and very good it is, too, roughly like calf's liver in flavour, but with a chewier, denser texture. Other dishes included a duck confit with lots of coriander and rice cooked in beer with more of that super-authentic corn.
Wok-cooked strips of beef came with a soy-oriented "saltado" sauce - the dish showed the Chinese influence that is one of the things that makes Peruvian cooking so interesting. It was also the dish we liked best.
The only odd or bland note was a side of beetroot purée with a coriander-oriented cake of mashed potato; this was the only spud in the meal, which is odd given that they come from Peru.
Price: From around £30 a head

The Independent
6 May
[Lisa Markwell says Tom Aikens Restaurant, London SW3, is clever without being intelligent ](http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/tom-aikens-43-elystan-street-london-sw3-7707213.html)It's immediately clear from the canapés that the classic French cooking of before has been replaced by heavy influences of the very fashionable (and newly crowned Best Restaurant in the World for a third time) Noma, and its ilk.
A chunk of stone comes out with various cylinders and cubes, which Suave Dave describes rather too quickly. I just catch blood and foie gras. Of the starters proper, Tina's char-grilled and baked celeriac with pickled raisins (£10.50) has a curiously burnt taste and a distressingly challenging chew to it.
It's served on a wibbly-wobbly plate, though.
My raw turnip salad with chestnuts (£12) has a slick of almond-cream butter on one edge (in my house that happens when the dishwasher's playing up) and some rather listless leaves.
The puréed chestnut nuggets are delicious.
Call me a Philistine, but I'd have been happy with the coarse Hessian sack of rolls (including a fab semolina bread) and the three butters, of which bacon and onion is ace.
Rating: 4/10
Price: Dinner about £115 for two, not including alcohol

The Sunday Telegraph
6 May
[Zoe Williams finds too little of a good thing at Elliot's, London SE1, where the food is amazing but the portions are sadly meanSo everything was going swimmingly when the mains arrived, and they were this is going to sound a bit Oliver Twist they were quite small.
B's mussels with nduja (an Italian sausage paste) and fennel (£12.50) would not have daunted a starter-eater or large child.
My ricotta gnudi (this is reading like a convention of vowelless foodstuffs) weren't huge either, and there were but four of them (£12.50). Imagine the inside of a ravioli, the ricotta, fused with the outside, the flour and egg, then rolled into a ball.
They came with artichoke and olives, and the whole lot arrived with a lovely watercress and gem salad and some fried potatoes, along with one of the best aiolis have ever had.
Once you've had mussels with this hot but meaty and faintly sweet nduja, I wonder how long it would take you to return to a straight sauce marinière - maybe decades.
Rating: 4/5
Price: Three courses: £26.15

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