Newest Review: ... mouse size portion, you will most definitely not feel under-nourished eating at Cafe Rouge. The service is nicely timed so that you are ne... more
Cafe Rouge James Street, London
Member Name: AlmshoeRachy
Advantages: Quick and tasty lunch
Disadvantages: Can get busy and cramped
Cafe Rouge is a national chain of French styled restaurants. There are currently over 100 sites. The chain is owned and operated by Tragus ltd, which also owns Strada and Bella Italia. The chain serves food all day, including main meals, lighter bites, salads and the express menu, or Plats Rapides.
My local one is on James Street in London, a lovely little road just off Oxford Street and close to Selfridges which houses a variety of restaurants, both chain and individual ones.
I am reviewing this as a place to go for a quick lunch, not as a restaurant I would choose to go for a slap up evening meal - there are much nicer places out there. I try to meet a friend here for lunch every couple of weeks or so as we both enjoy the food, and we are able to take advantage of the Taste Card 50% discount (see my previous review on this).
The restaurant itself is fairly small and the tables are pushed close together in order to get the highest capacity - ok for a quick lunch time bite, but not ideal for a romantic candle lit affair. There are also tables outside for the summer or the smokers amongst us. I always book before we go, sometimes only half an hour before, and have always been greeted courteously and taken directly to a table. The walls are painted with the names of various hot drinks and pictures of bottles of wine. Whilst in there it is easy to forget that you are only moments away from the hubbub of Oxford Street.
The menu has something for everyone and vegetarians seem to be well catered for. You can start off with a basket of French bread, or one of the smaller plates (petits plats) for £3 of 4 for £10 which includes duck & smoked chicken pate, pulled pork pate or blue cheese & walnuts, all served with bread.
The starters include French Onion Soup, Moules Marinieres and Deep Fried Camembert and are priced around £6 to £7.
The salads include a delicious sounding Goats Cheese one with Marinated Peppers & Olives, Chicken Caesar and Salmon Nicoise costing between £10-£12.
There is a choice of 28 days matured steak dishes including a signature Rib Eye for £17 or a Bavette marinated in rosemary & garlic served with fried and Garlic Butter for £13.50.
The main courses include Coq Au Vin (£13), Bouillabaisse (£14.25) and Crispy Duck Confit (£15). A variety of side dishes are available too.
My favourite part of the menu is the Plat Rapides. They are incredibly quick, usually in front of you within 5 minutes, hot and delicious. The dishes include a Chargrilled Steak Baguette, a twice baked Cheese Souffle, which I keep meaning to try, and my favourite - the Croque Monsieur for £8.50. It is served with a salad garnish and fries and I am yet to have a bad one. A Croque Monsieur is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, with the ham inside the bread, and melted cheese on the top. The bread is soft and tasty, the ham is a generous portion and delicious, and the melted gruyere cheese tops it off fantastically. The portion size as a whole is good and always leaves me feeling full. We did find a restaurant close by which also serves Croque Monsieur, but it did not live up to the Cafe Rouge standard! Every time I go I keep saying I will have something else, but it's too good not to have!
The service is OK - they take your order, they bring the food, they clear the table and bring you the bill - nothing exceptional, but when you are rushing in for lunch, what more do you need?
46-48 James St
020 7487 4847
Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 11.00pm
Sat: 9.00am - 11.00pm
Sun: 9.00am - 10.30pm
Thanks for reading.
Summary: A great place for a quick lunch