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Café Rouge

I love French food. There, I said it! I think it stems from the yearly family holiday to France when I was a child. Experiencing the different types of food offered in cafes and restaurants was part of our holiday and trying seafood, salads and great cheeses was fantastic and I think really drives my love of all food now.

I didn’t realise that Café Rouge had been around since 1989 and that they promise a range of ‘French classics’, so I was prepared to be impressed and to be taken back to the tastes and smells of my childhood - and I wasn’t disappointed. We started with some warm bread batons with garlic and herb butter – well this is a French restaurant, so garlic does feature quite heavily on the menu! This gave us a chance to peruse the vast menu
and make our choices for starters and mains.

To kick us off, I chose ‘Fritôts de Camembert’ deliciously deep fried individual Camembert with a warm redcurrant and cranberry sauce. My other half went very traditional with ‘Soupe à l'Oignon’ - classic French onion and beef soup with melted Gruyère croutons to serve. Both were really good and set us up for the main courses.

Now I do a love a good steak, and one of the main reasons is that I think you can tell a lot about a restaurant if they can cook a steak well and, more importantly, cook it how you ask for it. So unsurprisingly I decided to go for the 7oz ‘Steak Frites’ which, as the name suggests, came with French fries (skinny chips) and melted garlic beurre maison (garlic again!). The steak was cooked to absolute perfection, so much so I asked the waitress to congratulate the chef for me. My partner went for ‘Poulet Breton’ which was strips of chicken breast, leeks and mushrooms sautéed with fresh herbs in a cream and white wine sauce served with herb mash.  The dish looked great and smelt even better; he polished off the lot so I guess it must have been pretty damn good.

One of the things I definitely remember from my family holidays to France is that the French are very good at making desserts, so after a short break in proceedings to let the three previous courses settle, we ventured to the dessert menu. I chose the chocolate and banana crèpe which was absolutely divine and I must admit disappeared quite quickly. My partner didn’t think he could manage a dessert but after seeing the menu confessed that he might be able to squeeze in a crème brulée topped off with fresh raspberries (his excuse being that crème brulées are never very big!). It went the same way as my crèpe!

I really enjoyed my foray back to some of my childhood memories and I still love good French food; there’s something very honest about it and Café Rouge do it very well. The restaurant has a great, lively atmosphere but is not too overwhelming, so you can just enjoy good food and the odd glass of French wine, of course – well, it would be rude not to!

Summary:
Café Rouge is a real celebration of French cuisine. There’s nothing too fancy about it but it gives you good, honest French food and doesn’t bankrupt you in the process. It offers great value for money and you come away feeling full up and very happy indeed. I’ll be going back again and taking some friends for a leisurely lunch and maybe a glass of wine or two.

Facilities:

Disabled facilities
Restaurant is all on one level for easy access.

Parking
FREE 3 hours parking at Sainsburys just a two minute walk away. Other daytime parking can be difficult and costly (pay and display). Evenings, after 6.00pm, there is plenty of parking available and it is free.

Other amenities
Alfresco dining area available. Children’s menu available with activity pack to keep them occupied. Open for breakfast. Prix Fixe menu available 12pm to 5pm every day.