Cafe Rouge

I think most people would agree that a restaurant in the Cafe Rouge chain is more of a French theme restaurant, than a genuine French restaurant, which is why I would not normally bother with a review. (for my non UK readers Cafe Rouges can be found in most UK high streets) The food, like the decor, is directed from the headquarters of whichever corporate behemoth that is running the chain this particular week, however the advantage of that is that you can expect to know what you are going to get and how much it is going to cost at the end of the evening whichever outlet you use. There are also frequently good online voucher deals to be had too.

Having said that, tonight a new depth was plumbed when my French onion soup arrived. Now I used to be a big fan of their French onion soup which in the past had come in quite a deep pot with a crusty French bread crouton. I don’t know if it’s a sign of hard times, but tonight’s offering turned up in a really quite shallow dish which perhaps explains why the crouton was a disc cut out of a slice of processed white bread. It wasn’t even toasted. To be fair when I pointed this out to the manager she knocked it off the bill and promised to flag up my criticism to head office, but I don’t think it’s really on to trade on a French theme and then slip a disc of Mother’s Pride in the soup. It’s not as if they don’t have the odd baguette in the shop and it certainly would not happen in France. On the plus side the rest of the meal was fine, but not a patch on a real French restaurant like Chartier in Paris.

Chartier, Paris everything the Cafe Rouge would like be

Here the waiter writes your order on the table cloth, the food is freshly cooked to order and you may even find yourself sharing a table with strangers, but a three course meal with wine, coffee and cognac will come in at under €100 for three. Now that is a proper French restaurant.



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