Café Rouge stands out amongst the many competitors that line Bridge Street, with its eye-catching and inviting exterior. Having benefited greatly by a premises move, from the far less exciting quayside residence. Diners would be forgiven for not realising that Café Rouge is part of a restaurant chain, as it successfully creates the feel of eating in a Parisian bistro.
We were greeted warmly and shown to our seats quickly,
... does a very good impression of an old-fashioned French pavement café... well known for its mussels... a safe bet
but without feeling rushed. One nice touch was the personal coat hooks situated on the wall behind our seats. This meant our coats were neatly out of the way, but also very close at hand. We soon had drinks and menus to peruse. The atmosphere is cosy and comfortably busy. On the down side, the entrance has several steps and the toilets are up a winding narrow stairs, so anyone with a mobility issue may find this place a challenge.
Judging by the broad mix of fellow diners, Café Rouge seems to have something for all ages to enjoy. A mother and her young daughter out together, students escaping from their study or middle-aged friends catching up over a leisurely meal.
The menu boasts a wide selection of starters, main and desserts, together with specials that draw from various regions of France. In addition, a fixed menu "prix fix" is offered during weekdays before 5pm at a reasonable price. This is ideal for those looking to escape work for lunch or those who like value for their Euros.
After a hard days work, steak frites looked like the ideal choice of main course. The seasoned fries, garlic butter and tender steak mixed together very well. However by the last few mouthfuls, the saltiness of the fries was a bit overpowering and a glass of water was in need. For desert we were enticed by the Crêpe au Chocolat et Banane, which sounded like a perfect choice to round off our meal. Maybe our expectations were too high, as although it was very nice, it wasn't the taste explosion we were hoping for.
Overall, we found Café Rouge to be a pleasant and comfortable place to eat. With a friendly service and wide ranging menu, we will definitely be back for more.