Despite the service, the salad was quite nice…

Despite the time it took to arrive (see my previous blot post), I did enjoy the salad I had recently at Café Rouge.

Paysanne Salad

The Paysanne Salad (£11.25) consists of grilled chicken with egg, bacon, avocado, tomato, French beans, and Parmesan, lemon & garlic dressing

I did feel the accompanying Dressing was a little sharp and I didn’t use very much of it. I am not sure I recall it even tasting of lemon. I think if I was going to cook it myself, I would use lardons instead of a sliced slice of bacon. This would have been much nicer.

I also thought it was a little pricey for what I had, I’ve certainly had better salads at Café Rouge for a lot less money. Though I am reminded that due to the poor service I didn’t actually pay for it!

Overall though I did enjoy the salad, it was fresh and tasty.

Well that’s ironic…

You may recall an earlier blog post about poor service at a branch of Bella Italia that I experienced. I did fill in the web feedback form, and Tragus the company that owns Bella Italia did respond with a really nice letter and some vouchers for use at any of the restaurants that Tragus own.

We had already decided that we wouldn’t go back to Bella Italia and so on a recent shopping trip to Cribbs Causeway we chose Café Rouge.

We arrived before 1pm and the place was very busy, but there were still some free tables. Cafe Rouge is one of the many eating places available in the food area at Cribbs. When Cribbs opened it was full of fast food places with lots of tables. A few years ago, the food area was redeveloped and fast food establishments, well not replaced, were supplemented with a range of restaurants including Carluccio’s, Cafe Rouge and others. This made it a much more attractive environment for eating out than before. Having said that remember it is a shopping mall, and so not quite a real alternative to a “normal” restaurant.

We were greeted well and shown to a table. We sat down and waited a short while before some menus were dropped off on our table. They were literally dropped on the table and before we could even say thank you and possibly order some drinks the waiter disappeared into the throng of the other tables. We were a little surprised, a little put out, but well they were busy… We didn’t worry so much, he would be back in a couple of minutes.

Ten minutes later we needed to get up and find a waiter. Despite trying to catch the attention of the waiting staff, we had to go and find one to take our order.

Now our order wasn’t too complicated, two dishes, one was the Paysanne Salad, the other was the Goat’s Cheese Salad. So we didn’t expect any problems.

We did feel we had been waiting for a while, and after twenty minutes, we noticed that the next door table had not only ordered well after we had, but now had their food, we got up again to ask where are food was.

After another ten minutes, I was getting quite annoyed, so for the third time we got up and asked to speak to the manager. Now she did listen, immediately offered us our meal for free, which we accepted. Within a couple of minutes our food arrived.

I do find it ironic that having received vouchers as compensation for poor service that when using them at a different restaurant expecting good service, it was actually worse! At least we didn’t need to use the vouchers.

Very nice indeed…

I have a kind of love hate relationship with Café Rouge. I really like the concept behind Café Rouge and like the menu, but then I am let down either by poor service or over seasoning.

However on my latest visit with the family, we had excellent service, great food and it was all, very nice indeed…

It was, how it should be, how I expect it to be, and what I want when I go out and pay for lunch.

My son, avoiding the children’s menu, he went for the Tartine Marocaine, an open sandwich of sautéed spicy Merguez sausages & caramelised onions with houmous and crisp chicory on grilled sourdough bread served with a minted crème fraîche.

Tartine Marocaine

I am a great fan of Merguez sausages and these, though slightly overdone for me, were very nice, and my son really enjoyed the dish. I was quite surprised how much he enjoyed the onions, the crisp chicory (which is quite bitter) and the salad. He wasn’t that impressed with the minted crème fraîche, but once he worked out that it helped cool the spiciness of the Merguez sausage he understood how it fitted into the dish. I have had this dish myself before and enjoyed it back then.

My wife went with the Salade de Chèvre, grilled goat’s cheese croutons on a bed of marinated red peppers, black olives and herb salad with a light vinaigrette.

Salade de Chèvre

She let me try the salad and I liked the freshness of the salad leaves with the marinated red peppers and black olives. The goat’s cheese had a subtle flavour, but was nice.

I went with the Tartine au Maquereau, an open sandwich of pan-fried mackerel fillets, baby plum tomatoes, horseradish mayonnaise and rocket on grilled sourdough bread.

Tartine au Maquereau

I really enjoyed this dish, the mackerel was cooked really well and the tomatoes, rocket and horseradish mayonnaise complemented the fish. The dish was full of flavour and was delicious.

My two younger ones had meals from the children’s menu, they enjoyed their food, but the fries came with salt on them… personally I think they should come without salt, especially on the children’s dishes.

So what about the service? Despite the fact it was a busy Sunday, we got a table as soon as we walked in, and the waitress was friendly and efficient. The food came within a reasonable time frame and we weren’t rushed or anything. As a result it was a very relaxing and enjoyable meal out.

Very nice indeed…

Merguez and Baguette Rouge at Café Rouge

Needing a quick lunch in Bristol, I popped into Café Rouge.

LunchI have always preferred having a starter over a desert so I went with one of their Petits Plats, Merguez, spicy beef & lamb sausage with harissa mayonnaise.

I was a little surprised as I was expecting to get a whole sausage, not a sliced one. However I guess it was presented in this way, as the Petits Plats are designed to be shared.

I felt however that as the sausage was cooked (or possibly re-heated) sliced it lost a lot of what makes a decent merguez sausage. I’ve certainly had better at Café Rouge was a little disappointed. It should be noted that the flavour was good, but the cooking process and presentation let the dish down.

LunchFor my main course I went with the chargrilled rump steak baguette with Dijon mustard & oregano mayonnaise, French fries and a salad garnish.

I asked for the steak to be rare, and it was delivered medium! Apart from that the steak was okay, there was no depth of flavour, but I kind of expect that, this isn’t a steak house, it’s a chain! I think I would have preferred the Bavette I have had before.

The fries were crisp and were not overseasoned which is normally my experience, and the salad was fresh.

Overall I enjoyed my lunch and the service was excellent, which made for a nice change and I hope is the norm rather than the exception.

Tartine Marocaine

On a recent lunch at Café Rouge I decided for my main that I would go for the Tartine Marocaine, an open sandwich of sautéed spicy merguez sausages & caramelised onions with houmous and crisp chicory on grilled sourdough bread served with a minted crème fraîche.

Those of you who have read my other blog posts on Café Rouge will know that one of the things I like about the place is that they have the merguez sausage.

This is a different dish to the times I have had it before. The sausage was great as were the onions. I was less enamoured with the chicory, but it was fresh and crisp. The bread was slightly on the thin side, but with the houmous worked well.

I did enjoy the dish and it worked well.