I may have mentioned before that The Peanut Gallery has a baby which has nothing to do with me. His bike. It's custom made and now has brand new wheels. It appears he is preparing for the Tour de France. If I had, long ago, instituted a rule that every dollar spent on the bike is to be matched by expenditure on shoes for me, I'd be a very happy woman.
The trouble with having a such a bike is that you can never take it anywhere - or leave it anywhere at least. Many times, we have cycled around town looking for a nice coffee spot where TPG can not only secure his bike nearby, but eyeball it while he is eating, and be within a clear path to a doorway or open window to enable him to leap through the air and pounce in the event that anyone looks sideways at it. Sometimes it's easier just to go home....
So the bike valet service at Cafe Luc is something of a welcome addition to the London cafe scene for our household. After a cycle around the leafy streets of Primrose Hill and Regent's Park, customers can drop off their bikes with the bike valet and eat with the assurance that their pride and joy is safely locked up inside the building.
Apparently, they also offer a shopping valet service if find yourself unable to resist the temptations of the cafe's chic Marylebone High Street location.
Cafe Luc is run by Julie van Oostende and her father, Belgian restaurateur, Luc van Oostende. Despite their Belgian heritage, the menu at Cafe Luc is more broadly Modern European - although there is a Belgian week menu coming up from 20 - 27 September 2010. (Unfortunately there will not be waffles - the first thing TPG checked - although there will be speculoos, vanilla and salted caramel ice-cream which will appease him).
The interior was designed by Stiff and Trevillion (who were behind Le Cafe Anglais' decor) and is something like that of a larger Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, although slightly more corporate. It's a schlick looking brasserie, with muted walls, black wooden tables, chocolate banquettes and lots of mirror action. Eye catching light fittings include amber hand blown glass bulbs from Murano bubbling over the copper bar, and clusters of small black lampshades spaced along the walls. Even the loos are rather dashing.
Two upright eggs with soldiers (£5.50) were also perfectly cooked, although the smallish serving of toast may not be enough to satisfy you on it's own. I would suggest accompanying this with fruit salad, or the TPG went for pancakes - a dainty stack with maple syrup and berries were excellent (£7.50).
There are healthy options like Greek yoghurt with berries and honey and, while the menu is mostly quite conventional, more offbeat numbers like apple spring rolls with green apple coulis are available.
Juices are freshly squeezed (I had orange, but carrot, apple, pear and grapefruit are also offered) and I enjoyed a spicy, well made Bloody Mary to accompany my Full English. The coffee was fine, although not one to go out of the way for.
Service appeared to be helpful and attentive across the room. There were occasional gaps in product knowledge, but not too much to begrudge them - it's all very casual and friendly.
Cafe Luc is a good option for breakfast with cocktails in style - or one to remember if you're out free wheeling with an obsessive compulsive bike owner.
Cafe Luc, 50 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5HN (Tel: 020 7258 9878)
Greedy Diva was a guest of Cafe Luc.