Newest Review: ... - this costs around £12.50 and although is very tasty, I just don't find it is filling enough. For that price, I expect to feel ful... more
Je t'aime Cafe Rouge!
Member Name: hypno06
Advantages: Delicious and accessible
Disadvantages: Tweak the childen's menu please!
We lead very busy lives, with my husband and I both having second jobs in addition to our full time ones, and with two very active teenagers, whose sporting hobbies lead us all over the country at the weekends.
So, time together, doing normal things like having a conversation, is not a frequent occurance. Everyone seems to be dashing about, notes are left by the kettle for each other, and generally speaking this is how we have lived our lives for the last ten years or so!
Making time for ourselves as a family has become one of those things that we have to book into or diaries - don't get me wrong, I don't want to change the way we live, and the extra working is pretty much a necessity, but if we never actually made a date to go out together, something else would crop up and it would be one of those things we never got round to doing.
Over the last couple of years, as our children have turned into young adults (they are 13 and 15 now), going for a nice meal out, has become one of those occasional treats where we can spend time together, away from work/home/sport and spend some quality time together doing something really nice.
We can't afford to eat at top of the range places, but because this is just an occasional treat for us, we like to go somewhere nicer than Pizza Hut, and somewhere where we don't ever feel rushed, or under pressure in any way to get eating up before the next lot of people arrive.
We also like to eat quite early on - for example meeting after work at 6pm and having an early bird dinner, rather than eating at 8 or 9pm.
Cafe Rouge, is one of those places that ticks the boxes nicely for us, and one that we have been to several branches of - in Norwich, in London, and today at Center Parcs. Whichever branch we have visited, we have enjoyed, and we will be happy to continue visiting in the future.
Cafe Rouge is a chain of restaurants with a French theme. The food is simple, and well flavoured.
The menu is divided into starters, main courses and desserts, as you would expect, with the addition a "light snack" section, which is good for lunchtime, or if you are on a diet (the portions at Cafe Rouge are quite generous, and a light snack is ample if you are not over hungry). Also, and this is quite good to know, the starters can be ordered as a light portion in their own right - again good if you are only in need of a small portion, but also good if you are watching the pennies. For example, you can order a main course order of mussels and chips for £11.95, or you can order a starter/light snack order of mussels for £5.95 and a side order of chips for £2.95 giving you a similar main course for £8.90......every little helps when you are on a budget!
Main courses consist of a range of French style food, from Beef Bourginon, through to Moules Frites (my favourite) to simple Steaks, best cooked rare in my opinion, and served simply with French Fries and garlic butter. A full list of main courses and starters can be found on their website www.caferouge.co.uk
The food is simple and full of flavour - something that I think we have largely forgotten about in cooking.
I have a really sweet tooth, but my problem with Cafe Rouge is that the starters and main courses are so deliciously filling, that more often than not I don't have space for a pudding. On the odd occasion that I do, I can almost certainly be seen choosing the Creme Brulee.......although their cheese board is fantastic, especially if you are going to linger over coffee and chat some more!
Prices for starters and light snacks are around £5-7 with main courses starting at a very reasonable £8 and going up to about £16 for the entrecote steak. For the quality of food that you get here, I think that this is a very good price, and the prices are no more expensive if you are eating in one of the London branches, which makes this a very good value meal.
The French love to involve children in their eating experiences, and Cafe Rouge welcome children, providing a specal childrens menu at £4.95, which gives a main course, dessert and a drink - again a very reasonable price. The childrens menu, thankfully, does not consist of "nuggets and chips" or "turkey dinosaurs and chips", instead offering salmon fish cakes, sliced chicken with mash, and similar dishes.
However, I do think it is a shame that children are not just offered smaller portions at an appropiate price, of the adult meal. Why can a child not sample a small steak and fries, or a wonderful fish casserole. If we introduce our children to proper food at an early age, they will appreciate it throughout their lives. If, on the other hand, we give them a menu of pizza and chips, then at the age of 12, when they suddenly do not become eligable for the menu des enfants, they will not know what to do with a side order of wonderfully garlicky french beans!
I do think it is a shame that somewhere like Cafe Rouge, where food is generally cooked from scratch, that small portions aren't offered as standard for children.....and for that, and that reason alone, Cafe Rouge loses a star.
**Wine and Drinks**
Cafe Rouge offers a very good range of wines, beers and hot and cold drinks, and I really like the fact that on the menu, they will recommend an appropriate wine to accompany your chosen dish. So, there is no need to worry about which wine to choose - just order the variety that they suggest and you won't go far wrong!
Soft drinks and coffee are around £2 a glass/cup but wine is around £4 a glass, so be aware of this, as it can quickly bump your bill up!
**Value for money**
I think that Cafe Rouge offers great value for money - it provides great food with a very family friendly, relaxed atmosphere. If you are watching the pennies, you can get a lovely meal for a reasonable cost. If you are not worried about the cost, you can get a lovely meal for an absolute fortune!! Something for everyone then!
For example, at lunch today, for four (2 adults, 2 teenagers) we had a very delicious main course each, with a drink, and the bill came to £53, which I think I very reasonable for an occasional family treat. You could visit Pizza Hut and not spend much less......
To make it even better value, though, you can convert Tesco Clubcard vouchers into Deals, and use these - that means that your "cost" of a Cafe Rouge meal can be just a quarter of the cash price (although it should be noted that drinks are generally not included in this, so you would always have to pay cash for these), meaning that you can go out for a fab meal for next to nothing!
We have never had a bad experience at Cafe Rouge - it is a nice treat for us in our busy lives, and we can pretend we are holidaying in France at the same time.....I would certainly recommend Cafe Rouge to anyone.
We have visited Cafe Rouge with a very autistic friend, who is very particular about his food and also suffers badly from food allergies. The staff at Cafe Rouge have been very happy to ensure that our friend could eat food cooked just as he liked it, and at the same time ensured it contained nothing he was allergic to - great customer service.
For more information on the menus, locations etc, please visit www.caferouge.co.uk
Summary: Simple food, great flavours and a reasonable price.