Marche Express aka ME – Munch & Sip 遠洋太古里
Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li 19-2342; 成都锦江区中纱帽街8号远洋太古里东里二层2342号
Marche Express is the younger sibling of Marche, a slick seafood hot pot restaurant that has been holding its own in Tai Koo Li for a few years now. On the surface there is little family resemblance between the two spots, since Marche Express is much more cafe casual and the cooking leans Continental rather than Asian. However, the restaurants’ attention to ingredients and sourcing and the focus on food quality is obvious in both places.
We dropped by Marche on a Saturday to soak up the Tai Koo Li atmosphere and to try their salads – the potato salad, which turned out to be greens tossed with crispy fried potatoes and bacon and served with a creamy dressing. The dressing on the side was very thick, but we appreciated the leaves were fresh and dry. The antioxidant salad was cool and bright with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, olives, and a sweet mustardy vinaigrette. Very nice and good value for the area. The day we dropped in still held some chill in the air so we ordered a bread bowl seafood chowder, which feels like a throwback Thursday dish, but we liked the version here. The boule that served as a base had a very nice open crumb and the bread that had been pulled out had been crisped with herbs into croutons. The soup was creamy rather than starchy. Their drinks were Thai milk tea, fresh ground coffee, and a lemongrass green tea. The star of the show was the finale, a banana Nutella crepe piled generously with whipped cream and Nutella.
Marche is right on the boardwalk and the food prep area is very open; we like it as a coffee or a brunch spot when the weather and the air are cooperating. We’ve been back with friends to share the banana crepe, which has become one of our favourite things to get in Tai Koo Li. Bill for lunch around 60-100 RMB per person.