Perfectly cooked local cuisine with wonderful atmosphere
Every once in a blue moon, while on my travels with Mrs Sandford, I make the mistake of driving into a town or city I don’t know looking for a place to eat. No guide book and no recommendations, just a belief that it will be easy to find a nice place to eat. I don’t know why I do it because the result is always the same. We wander round the streets getting colder, hungrier and more testy by the minute completely unable to make a decision over where to eat.
We did it again recently in Nimes. Wandering the back streets by day is a pleasure, but on a cold wintery night when the streets are fairly deserted and you’ve walked round in circles a few times it really isn’t. Eventually one of us will make a snap decision, to avoid imminent divorce, and then pray that their instincts were right. On this occasion it was I who made the executive decision and thankfully earned brownie points as a result! Le Bouchon du Marché is a gem of a family-run restaurant that was almost full with a happy French clientele on a midweek evening. The main dining area has vaulted ceilings and the decor is simple and fresh. The front of the restaurant is dominated by an impressive open upright grill. It is here that they hang and roast both meat and fish alike.
The menu is small, 5 entrees, 3 fish and 3 meat courses but all very well done. We had Moules Farcies and Escalope de Foie Gras to start and Saumon Roti and Magret de Canard to follow. All were perfectly cooked, the ingredients were great and the sauces just so. We heard other diners, who were trying different dishes, expressing their delight to the owners, Mme Dumas and Mr Guiard. The experienced duo have run Le Bouchon du Marché for four years and create an atmosphere of friendly informality and are justly proud of their mighty grill which they acquired about a year ago. They have room for 40 covers and it is a credit to them and their young chef Vincent Coutecuisse that they were so busy on a Wednesday night.
As well as great cuisine and atmosphere the prices are very reasonable with entrees between 11 and 15 euros and mains between 13 and 19 euros. All in all we were delighted to make this discovery which made roaming the streets more than worthwhile.
You can find Le Bouchon du Marché at 23 Rue de l’Etoile in the centre of Nimes.
by Jamie Sandford, 2008