Only two of the French restaurant chain's 121 Cafe Rouges are in Scotland. This is one of them (the other is in Glasgow). A largish, New Town cafe/restaurant with patio area, Cafe Rouge aims to balance good value with fine cuisine, with monthly set menus of one and two courses.
A pretty good version of French eating and always a great buzz.
Reviewed by Irene Brown
Sunday, May 29, 2011 - 8:19pm
Café Rouge is a chain of restaurants in Britain offering “A Taste of France with a Modern Twist”. In their Edinburgh Frederick Street branch, where they have indeed managed to create a pretty good version of French eating, there is always a great buzz.
Café Rouge caters for parties of all sizes as I can vouch for, having eaten over the years à deux, toute seule, avec plusieurs amies, and en famille, when small children are treated to balloons tied to their chairs and older ones get crayons and colouring- in books – great diversions for hungry, impatient weans!
This lunchtime, my dining companion and I chose Tartine à la Grecque, from the new menu, which consisted of toasted sourdough bread topped with a delicious mélange of baby plum tomatoes, Feta cheese, black olives, roasted red peppers, courgettes and green beans and Cromesquis de Saumon, which was salmon fishcakes, chips tartare sauce and salad.
As usual, the green salad was very small - more like a garnish really - and bread is not complimentary but charged for separately. While these small points make for a lack of French authenticity, the meals were still very tasty.
On one of my last visits to France, I came across the wonderful concept of Café Gourmand – coffee served with a trio of miniature desserts, the choice of which varies in each restaurant but with crème brulée being the constant. Café Rouge has introduced a version of this. They have a Café Gourmand which is a coffee of choice with a miniature dessert from the other addition on the menu, Assortiments, which consists of a small slice of chocolate cake and mascarpone, a small tarte tatin with ice cream and a mini crème brulée. Sometimes a whole pudding is just too much so this is a welcome choice. We chose their Café Gourmand, and while my coffee arrived too early, it was warmed up quickly when asked. Their coffee and wine are always good.
The large restaurant was almost full so the staff were worked very hard but stayed calm and pleasant. For such a large restaurant, the toilets are too small and there not enough of them, but it seems to work.
They do a Prix Fixe menu that is available all week between 12 and 5pm costing £6.50 for one course and £8.50 for two. There is also a set evening menu available Sunday to Thursday after 5pm, with two courses costing £10.50 and a traditional British Sunday roast costing just over £10 consisting of roast beef, sweet potato mash, Yorkshire pudding, thyme sauce, green beans and carrots.
They also do regular on-line offers of 2 for 1 main courses which helps make better value of an à la carte menu that is not especially cheap but Café Rouge is nevertheless a comfortable and easy place to eat in the city centre for a snack, a coffee, a glass of wine or a full meal.