An Eiffel-y good taste of Paris in Ecclesfield

La Petite Cafe,Church Street,Ecclesfield.Owner Christine Gloppe(right) with staff members D'Arcy Andrews and Matthew Cain
La Petite Cafe,Church Street,Ecclesfield.Owner Christine Gloppe(right) with staff members D'Arcy Andrews and Matthew Cain
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Zut alors, we’ve found a Parisian in the middle of Ecclesfield.

We should have put our trust in the cafe’s name, believed in the authenticity of its interior - the fresh rosebuds on every round bistrot table, framed black and white images of the city of romance adorning chic black walls.

As we perused a menu boasting tartines - open French sandwiches, classic French salads, pate, macaroons croque monsieur - we should have believed in Le Petit Cafe.

But cynicism led us to expect nothing more than a Gallic nod in an otherwise full English experience. So what a surprise it was when a brunette, late fifties, surely, Bardot type purred: “‘Ave yoo made a decision yet?”

Paris born and raised, Christine Gloppe opened the cafe two years ago. Regulars adore the place. During the day they come for the excellent coffee, the glass-domed cakes made by talented local home-bakers, and a light dejeuner. On Friday nights they rush for tapas (three courses, £17) and they wait impatiently for the occasional £21.50 Saturday night bistro or wine and cheese events.

What brought Christine to South Yorkshire? L’amour, of course. Her partner lives in Sheffield. She saw potential in the tiny cottage, latterly a chip shop and a photographer’s studio.

Christine, who for a hobby teaches locals how to perfect their French, needs no help with her English. It’s immaculate, honed during her years as a deputy head of a prep school in Sussex.

She perfected her culinary and hospitality skills in Majorca, where she ran a restaurant for ten years.

That explains the attention to detail, the high level of service and the beautiful presentation of every dish; Le Petit Cafe is no ordinary little cafe.

The Husband had chosen Mediterranean meatballs (£6.25) from the specials blackboard; small, meltingly soft and in a richly flavoured tomato sauce, they were accompanied by a hand-made potato salad and toasted baby rolls.

My croque monsieur (£4.75) came on a white platter with pots of ratatouille, quinoa and a lively dressed salad. All delicious - though while the croque oozed quality ham and a good, creamy cheese sauce, there was little crunch. It was a toasted monsieur, as opposed to one dipped in beaten egg and fried. Though I’m not complaining; it was a much healthier version - which meant I could also eat cake.

I opted for a £1.95 blueberry and raspberry drizzle, a sweet, unctuous, syrup-sozzled slice bottomed with soft, tart fruit. He chose the £2.35 cappuccino cake, deeply dark, though as light as the sponge in a Black Forest Gateau, with whipped coffee cream atop. Both looked a picture on plates dressed with feathered circlets of creme Anglais, fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint.

We didn’t say goodbye - we bade Christine au revoir.

When and where:

Le Petit Cafe

1a Church Street, Ecclesfield, S35 9WE

Tel: 07817 253858

Open: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 10.30am-4pm

My star ratings out of five:

Food: 4

Service: 5

Value: 5

Atmosphere: 4