Cafe Rouge

September 3, 2010

I took some criticism for a less than enthusiastic welcome to Cafe Rouge in Leicester’s Highcross.  I did stress at the time my views were based on prejudice born from the scorn of the big beast food critics and my own distaste for it’s over the top, theme park Frenchification. I’ve been urged to give it a try and I finally got along for a quick lunch this week.  And the verdict – well maybe not as bad I feared but nothing to get excited about.  

Working in its favour, and I’m not really giving credit to owners Tragus for this, was a beautiful late summer day and a chance to catch up with an old friend.  Sitting outside in the traffic free enviornment of Highcross was really very pleasant.    Foodwise my “terrine maison” was nice and smooth but a bit grey around the gills and was light on flavour,  though the caramelised roscoff onion chutney was very palatable to a sweet tooth like mine.  My main of salade de Toulouse  was nearly there.  The Toulouse sausages were great – coarse, garlicky and smoky, they were chopped up in a bowl of potatoes, more nicely caramelised onions and some good  perppery leaves. The main problem was the leaves were massively overdressed and were wilting in a puddle of oil at the bottom of the plate.  Judy had the confit leg of duck with a plum sauce, french beans and a gratin dauphinoise – which wasn’t too bad at all. The duck had been preserved and crisped up well, the plum sauce  had flavour  – and real plums – and the gratin was a decent effort, being rich with a nutmeggy crust but underneath the potatoes were somewhat underdone.   Our waiter was competent but the whole experience would have been enhanced with a smile and some warmth.

So it was ok but I’m not exactly won over by the place – I still find that corporate vibe offputting.  I’d be prepared to go again for a more extensive tasting, but it won’t be  top of my list.

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3 Responses to “Cafe Rouge”

  1. I think Cafe Rouge is pretty bad but I’m prejudiced against chain restaurants. All that cook chill food and portion control beng dreamed up in some industrial park somewhere.

    Give me even a decent sandwich from an independent made with love over this sort of thing.

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  2. Ned said

    I ate there on Saturday and found the whole experience pretty pleasant. Despite it being very busy and the fact that we were seated outside about as far away from the entrance as possible, we were served quickly and efficiently. The food wasn’t bad either, I rathre enjoyed my pasta and the kids loved their mussels. Mrs.T ate from the quick menu and thought it was a bit of a bargain. I know people who have not had such a good experience but for I would definitely go back. (great blog by the way!)

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  3. Ashe said

    I’m yet to have a anything but an awesome experience at the Cafe Rouge restaurants, guess I’m just lucky I haven’t wondered into one of the branches on a bad day.

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