So there I was needing a place to go to lunch. I did actually fancy La Tasca, however they weren’t doing anything like their Tapas for a Tenner deal though they were doing quite a few deals if there were two of you (eat for £12). However I was on my own so that wasn’t going to happen.
I looked round, but didn’t fancy Spud-u-like or Burger King so with time running out, but with a little hesitation I decided to go to Café Rouge.
Now my past experiences with Café Rouge have not been always favourable.
When I went to the branch in Cardiff I said:
Overall I was disappointed with the food and the service, I know Café Rouge is a chain, but in this case the Cardiff branch was a real disappointment.
When I was at one of the Bristol branches I was also not impressed:
They do a very good merguez sausage and it is always very well done, well cooked and nice and spicy. The lentils were quite good too.
However the dish was let down by something as simple as rocket leaves. They were not fresh, old and somewhat manky! A disappointment using not just old rocket leaves, but ones that looked as if they were verging on going off.
Now it’s not always bad news, otherwise I would certainly not have gone again this time. I had a wonderful meal in Brighton a few years ago and I think that’s the reason I keep going back.
So what went wrong this time?
This time the food was up to scratch and I’ll start with that. What I did notice was that the merguez sausage was no longer on the menu, which is a personal favourite.
I went for the fixed price menu, which is very reasonable at £8.50 for two courses, even though the choice is limited to three items for started and mains.
For my starter I went with the Salade de Toulouse – A warm salad of smoked Toulouse sausages sautéed with new potatoes and caramelised onions on a bed of mixed leaves.
This was quite nice, the sausage though was no merguez sausage and I expected a little more flavour from it. The onions and potatoes were cooked just right and the salad was fresh and crisp. I enjoyed it and used some bread to soak up the dressing.
The other two choices were Champignons a la Creme – Chestnut mushrooms cooked in garlic & cream served with French bread and
Salade Niçoise – Classic Niçoise salad with tuna, anchovies, egg, olives, potatoes, French beans and tomatoes with mixed leaves.
For my main course I went with the Poulet et Dauphinoise – Roasted chicken leg with dauphinoise potatoes and thyme jus.
This was also very nice, the chicken was cooked fine, the dauphinoise potatoes had flavour and good texture. The thyme jus was very nice.
The other two choices for the mains were Filet de Colin – Pan fried fillet of hake served on a bed of Ratatouille and Omelette aux Fines Herbes – Fresh herb omelette served with French fries or mixed salad. The fish had run out so it was a choice between chicken and omelette in the end.
So the food was good, what went wrong, why are you not going again?
Well this time the service is what was awful.
When I walked in, the place was quite full, and the waitress did say there would be a 30 minute wait for food, I was fine with that. It just seemed to taken them an inordinately long time to take my order. The first course arrived within 20 minutes which was nice. But then I had a 30 minute wait for the main course! By this time the place was much much emptier. What annoyed me though was that other tables were getting served before me even though they had come in later. In other words I had been forgotten… this was also evidenced by the waitress asking if I had had my main course (with my empty starter plate in front of me).
I normally do tip, however on this occasion I felt that I hadn’t had any service let alone good service.
So next time I think about going to Café Rouge, remind me of this time, oh and that time too….