I’ve always been partial to French cuisine, particularly in the winter months when you’re looking for something a little richer. How fitting it was then, to be contacted by Café Rouge who own a large chain of French restaurants.
The branch in Cribbs Causeway’s food hall didn’t exactly give off the most Frenchy of vibes but I was impressed by their formal, diligent service who greeted us at the entrance to their, er, food hall unit?
Overlooking neighbouring unit Spud-U-Like and surrounded by wreathes of Christmas firs adorned in baubles and Christmas lights, we began our Café Rouge experience with a bottle of Rose Pinot Grigio, Fougasse a l’ail (Garlic bread served with warmed garlic butter – £5.25) a starter of Soupe aux Oignon (£5.95) for me and King Prawn Crevettes (£7.25) for my companion.
My Onion soup, made using a Café Rouge own recipe was rich and flavoursome with ample amounts of sliced onion at the bottom. A bit like a really posh onion gravy. My companions king prawn crevettes, with a hint of chilli also went down well, though he did struggle to consume his prawns as they were too hot to touch. I didn’t seem to have a problem, though I am well accustomed to handling hot food from my waitressing days!
As we slowed to a stop with our starters, our waiter was quickly on hand to whisk our plates away with a smile. Then ten minutes later, our mains of Confit De Canard with a cherry sauce (£14.75), a Café Rouge burger with all the toppings (£11.95 + £4.00) and a house salad (£3.00) arrived. My duck leg topped with a cherry sauce as recommended by the manager fell away from the fork with a crispy skin. The cherry sauce added a little sweetness to the plate but the greatly anticipated potato dauphinoise that came with it, was a disappointment. Though perfectly formed, the potato lacked the creamy, garlic taste I was expecting and really, was rather plain.
My companions burger, served medium-well done (he wasn’t given an option) looked amazing with all the toppings and we loved the addition of the camembert cheese – I’ve never seen that offered elsewhere. The only downside was the burger itself was a bit on the bland side and the frites just looked and tasted like they’d come out of a bag in the freezer. As a side note, the house salad had a really delicious Caesar sauce – definitely try it.
For pudding, because you can’t end a meal on anything less, I opted for the Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry and Chocolate fondant ice cream (£6.25) and my companion the Salted Caramel Parfait (£6.25) with a latte. My initial thought was that my fondant was pretty small in size but when I got stuck in, the rich, denseness of the dessert made me realise it was more than enough! The sprinkling of dried raspberry added a slight zing to each bite and the fondant worked well. The Salted Caramel Parfait, recommended by our waiter, was the winner for our table. The smooth, subtle taste of the fondant contrasted well malted pecan crumb and fresh raspberries.
In all, we had a lovely meal. The service was polite and attentive, albeit too attentive (we were visited at least 15 times). The menu boasted lots of options, including seasonal choices which was great and the general quality was good, nothing noteworthy but it was tasty, well-portioned and delivered to the table quickly.
Unit R4, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5UR
Please note: Whilst I was invited to review Cafe Rouge and our meals were complimentary, this in no way impacted upon my opinions given. The photography also belongs to myself so please do not use without permission.