I don’t need to tell you about Café Rouge, the French Style Brassiere chain serving up Gallic fare to us Brits, I think we all know about this chain.I never realised that Café Rouge’s first opened 20 years ago and has continued to introduce a generation of terrified diners to French delights such as Croque Monsieur’s and Boeuf Bourguignon to a hungry nation.
There are a few new players on the bock recently, mainly Cote, which with its slick dark interiors, kind of made Café Rouge look a little jaded and in nee of a refurb. Hey guess what.
So they are doing away with the old and in with the new, Café Rouge have gone all modern on us with big red couches and tiled floors. Looks pretty good I do say.
We were invited to pop along to check out the new refitted restaurant, this we did a few days after returning from an incredible trip to the northern reaches of Yunnan Province to the fabled Shangri La and the Melie Xue Shan. Awesome.
The last time we were in Café Rouge was to sample one of their Croque Monsieur’s in my lovely old town of Basingstoke.
I missed those cheesey, hamy sandwiches, after making at least 20 or 30 a day at one point I did become a addict to them.
The dining room was just clearing after the lunchtime rush, so after a chat with the manager we were ready to chow down on some very different food than what we had been eating these past weeks in China.
So we jumped straight in to the food and order a couple of starters to get our mouths watering.
A plate of Saucisson and Cured Pork Loin and a Chicken Liver Terrine, which were both delicious. The Saucisson and Pork Loin were brought in but the light fluffy Chicken Liver Terrine was really good and one of the best I’d had in a long while. Only negative comment I would say it that it was a little too fridge cold.
Our mains of Demi Poulet and Duck Confit were pretty faultless. My juicy half chicken, unxious skin and most flesh with salty fries was a perfect Sunday lunch.
The Duck Confit flaked apart and was as you would expect from a confit’d duck. The sides of green beans and Dauphinoise potatoes were less so. The beans were a little bland and the to be expected creamy potatoes were a tad dry and very under seasoned. A shame as they would have been a par with the duck.
A Crème Brulee with two spoons was ordered to finish the meal, after the ceremonial cracking of the caramel spoonfuls of the room temperature custard were woofed down. A good end to the meal.
Café Rouge has its fans and also its enemies as well, but for what they provide they do it pretty well, and after keeping abreast of their rivals.