Le Café du Marché is celebrating 25 years of service. Executive chef Simon Cottard spoke to Janie Stamford about the secrets behind its success.
How long have you been at the restaurant? I have been at Le Café du Marché for 22 years and every day is different. Our clientele are loyal and many of our customers have been coming back to us for over 20 years. The front-of-house management team has also been here since it opened and seeing the same friendly faces gives customers a reassurance that their favourite restaurant is consistent and they trust the quality.
What do you think is the secret behind its enduring success? Le Café du Marché was set up by Charlie Graham-Wood who was a great visionary and restaurateur. He had an incredibly positive outlook on life and motivated the team which is more like a family - a dysfunctional family at times, but no less still a family. Sadly, Charlie passed away in 1999, but we have followed his way and changed nothing.
How has the restaurant remained fresh over the last 25 years? Our menu changes every five weeks and our daily specials change twice daily. The team of chefs here all contribute new ideas to the menu and I welcome input - I think this is something that is essential to keep a restaurant up to speed with its competitors.
What major changes, if any, have taken place? We've updated our kitchens, but it's not so much the things that have changed, it's the things we've kept the same. The interior of the restaurant has remained largely unchanged because the feedback is always positive. The bare brick walls and miss-matched hangings just add to the charm I think. The fish soup and côte de boeuf have been on the menu since we opened our doors and if we try to take them off there's uproar!
What does the future of the restaurant look like? It looks good as we try and remain on top of our game by constantly checking out our competition and remaining up to date with our menus, both seasonally and incorporating new dishes. We will be celebrating our 25 years with a three-course menu for £25 for one week in October.