Date and Time: Sunday 11th September 2011, 17:45
Name of Establishment: Café Rouge*
Location: Cabot Circus, Upper Ground Floor
Reason for Visit: Avoidance of the Sunday dinner-time roast-up fiasco in addition to a buy-one-get-one-free offer courtesy of 'Voucher Cloud'!*
I think every Café Rouge I’ve ever set foot in has the exact set-up – vibrantly red colour scheme (obviously), token French words scrawled across the paintwork and an old-school Bistro-effect brought about by deep wooden panelling, gold lighting stemmed from the ceiling as well as a multitude of gaudy framed mirrors and pictures tightly arranged side-by-side. Not to mention the soundtrack which ranges from ambient sax to a cheese-fest of characteristically Eurovision ditties! That said, I've never known Café Rouge to be anything other than buzzing with a near-to-full occupancy and the evening of our visit was, in fact, the only exception. Our server mused that the lack of bodies was; 'probably subsequent to half of Bristol flocking to the establishment the previous evening' and although we smiled in agreement, it didn't alter the distinct lack of pizazz that is usually enjoyed as part of the 'Rouge' experience. However, it did mean that The Boy and I could pretty much choose where we sat and opting for an intimate corner booth, comfortably upholstered with cherry-coloured velvet, it proved a rather romantic setting, especially with tea-ilghts flickering from within their small stained-glass containers.
|Confit de Canard|
Service was chatty and polite – our waitress in particular proved efficient and commendably un-pushy given the fact that we paid with a voucher and and stuck to tap-water for the duration of our visit! The Boy and I didn't choose to partake in beverages of the alcoholic variety on this occasion as we both had early-starts the following day and besides, neither of us fancied forking out almost £4 for a small glass of vino which, although seemed a little pricey, I guess was moderately in keeping with restaurants of this calibre.
And so, just as anticipated, Café Rouge was fine...fine for eating-out on a budget and fine for avoiding twilight washing-up duties and yet, not providing the wow factor of other independently run and more authentically arranged French restaurants and cafés I've discovered*, (not to mention the eateries I found in Paris itself – high standards as they may be!) Perhaps it just tries too hard to achieve an atmosphere that we Brits will perceive as French culture – I mean the serving staff might as well wear horizontal stripes and a wreath of garlic bulbs around their necks to complete the stereotype! Yet, accept this chain for what it is as well as the notion that subtlety really doesn't work on a National scale and it can indubitably offer an enjoyable, and reasonably-priced night out, (with the lure of an offer that is and with a Prix Fixe menu available 12:00 noon – 5:00pm daily and a Du Soir Set Menu offering two courses for £10.50 after 5:00pm Sunday to Thursday, there are devices in place even if your money-saving 'apps' desert you!) Nevertheless, it's fair to say that overall the most important aspect of this establishment, its cuisine, is of a commendable standard and for that reason we can again settle on summing up Café Rouge as...fine, or as the French would say 'bien'!
And now for the male opinion...
The Boy gave Café Rouge a rating of 7/10 and in three words, described this venue as 'haw-hee-haw'! (Methinks he wasn't taking this seriously!)
*Bistro La Barrique, I will be paying you a visit very soon!!