I was in Cambridge for a conference and arriving the day before looked for a place to eat. There is a wide choice, but having enjoyed my recent meals at Côte in Ealing I ended up at Côte wanting to try some things out I had seen on the menu before.
For my starter I went with the steak tartare, hand-cut raw beef, cornichons, mustard dressing, toasted sourdough baguette.
I’ve not had tartare before, but not sure that was this the best introduction to the dish. I felt it was both under seasoned and overpowered by the vinegar in the dressing. Though, as I’ve not had tartare before I couldn’t really tell you if this was “normal” or not.
For my main course I had the roasted lamb rump with ratatouille, harissa, tapenade and basil.
The lamb was done rare, and though I quite like it like this, I felt that the lamb needed a couple more minutes cooking time. The ratatouille was nice addition.
Despite some reservations, I did enjoy the food. Along with my meal I went with a basket of bread and butter.
The service was efficient and friendly.
In the past I have had some poor eating experiences at Café Rouge so have generally avoided their branches when looking for somewhere for lunch. Either the food wasn’t as good as I was expecting, or more usually poor and late service. However I still like the concept of a French bistro and the menu often is quite enticing.
I had arrived early in Cheltenham for a meeting and wanted somewhere I could get some lunch I hadn’t even considered Café Rouge. I had a look round, and not wanting something too heavy or too expensive I wasn’t sure what to have. I then saw Café Rouge and recalled seeing a special offer with my Three Wuntu app.If you have a mobile phone contract with Three then you often can get special deals and offers. The Wuntu offer was for a baguette, burger or croque for just five pounds. Well that fitted the bill, so in I went, though I was a little cautious. There was a warm and friendly welcome and I was able to choose where to sit from a few options offered to me, which was nice. Alas for some reason I was unable to get a decent 4G signal at my table so was unable to do the work I had intended to do over lunch. Not sure why, probably the construction of the building. Glad I managed to sort out the special offer on my phone before I went in. This branch of Café Rouge looked similar to their other branches, they have tried to give the place a French feel and look. It works for me.
I perused the menu and in the end decided to go with the Steak Baguette. I didn’t really fancy a burger or croque so I went with the steak baguette. The steak baguette was filled with sliced Black Angus rump steak with red onion chutney, watercress and Dijon mayonnaise and served with my choice of fries or salad. I went with the fries.
It arrived on a narrow wooden platter with a bowl of fries. I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to eat this, as it felt like it might be a bit messy to eat. I should have asked for a plate!
The steak was cooked as requested and was quite flavoursome and tasty. I think it could have been sliced more thinly in order to make it easier to eat. The watercress and Dijon mayonnaise worked well with the steak, but I did feel the red onion chutney was a bit of a miss and I think it could have been left off entirely. The baguette was fresh, with a crispy crumb and fluffy inside. The fries were crispy and hot and were a nice accompaniment.
The only complaint I had wasn’t about the restaurant, but was about the deal, the steak baguette incurred a £2 supplement, which wasn’t clear in the offer terms and conditions. Also the steak baguette was cheaper than the burgers, so still not sure why it had the supplement. So it was £7 not a fiver, but that was still quite a good deal. It was nice to sit down and eat, rather than grab a sandwich on the go.
You never know I might go again!
This photo appeared in David’s photostream recently from his holiday in France. It reminded me of the typical French picnics I use to eat in France when I was young and on my last visit there (back in the 1990s). There is something very French about a French flute or baguette, pate, cheese and fresh tomatoes. Maybe some saucisson sec or other dried salami. Washed down with a small bottle of French lager or possibly a glass of red wine. Just hungry thinking about it.