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IT'S always a welcome change to come across a new eatery away from the usual hot spots (read Sectors 26, 35) in the city. The Sector 16 market, known to house medical shops, has a new neighbour that takes its brews and bites seriously. The name and the signage might give you the impression that it's a coffee chain similar to the ones that dot the city, but French Press Café is visibly different. The tiled floors, wooden arm chairs, stone-walled arches give the cafe a cosy ambience and also the fact that it's a small space. The focus is on coffee brews and true to its name, the French press is their specialty. The beans are roasted in-house and the wafting aromas add to the cafe's ambience.
Having lived in Europe, the owners we are told, wanted to replicate a cafe similar to one tucked in the villages of the Swiss Alps. They have succeeded to quite an extent and the only thing missing is a crackling fire-place. Finding a cosy corner, we eagerly reached for the menu. It's a mix of popular European fare such as homestyle soups, salads, pasta as well as a lesser spotted dish in the city — croques. The latter is a typical French snack comprising an oven roasted sandwich and served here with French fries and house salad. Given how cold it is, croques spell comfort food. We would recommend Monsieur, a lightly toasted bread layered with ham, gouda cheese, topped with bechamel sauce. Paired with a hot cup of coffee and friendly banter, it makes for a filling meal. For those who like to eat eggs in more ways than one, try the baked crusty curried egg sandwich.
Unlike the usual coffee chains, we liked the homely feel of the cafe coupled with its gourmet spread. Hand-tossed pizzas also find place in the menu, so does the creme brulee. Parking can be tricky as it's a busy marketplace but that won't stop us from making another visit soon. The prices, on the other hand, are bit of a deterrent.