Café Rouge, Newcastle is a French bistro on Grey Street in the centre of town. We went there for a birthday lunch to find out what it was like.
The one good thing about having a birthday is it gives you an excuse to treat yourself. It is a great way to take your mind off getting older. Whilst you are in your teens getting older is something to look forward to.When you are more mature you hope to turn back time. All you can hope to do is to embrace ageing gracefully.
This year I was lucky enough to have some Buyagift vouchers. I found a deal for a three-course meal with a glass of prosecco at Café Rouge. Whilst my son was at college I took the chance to enjoy a leisurely lunch with my husband.
Café Rouge, Newcastle is in one of the many imposing buildings along Grey Street in Newcastle. You can park outside as there are spaces with parking meters. These have a limit on how long you can stay so you may be better using public transport. Monument Metro station is within walking distance.
Café Rouge is a French restaurant which serves an all-day menu of classic French dishes. On entering Café Rouge I was reminded of French bistros we would visit with my parents on holiday. The bar is at the end you enter and rows of tables line up on either side. Prints of French scenes like the Eiffel tower hang on the wall. All that is missing is a green outside with people playing boules.
As it was lunchtime though the week it was not packed but was quite busy. We were quickly shown to our seats and sat in a corner booth that was perfect for people watching.
The standard menu at Café Rouge is a mix of classic French dishes with a contemporary twist. As we were using a Buyagift voucher we had a slimmed down version of the main menu to choose from. This has a choice of three starters, four main courses and three desserts. While it is a reduced menu we still had plenty to choose from. We were both able to find something we would like.
Whilst we were choosing our dishes our drinks came. The meal came with two glasses of prosecco. I was happy to enjoy a couple of glasses with my meal. My husband chose to try Leffe Blonde which is a golden Abbey beer. He said it was nice but a little dry.
It didn’t take long for our starters to arrive.
To start we had a choice of soupe a l’oginon, croquettes des legumes or paté. I can never resist a French onion soup so I went for that option. A good French onion soup is the ultimate in satisfaction. This French onion soup comes with sourdough croutons and emmantel cheese. There are a couple of baguette slices for dipping. The soup was rich and delicious with the right amount of bread and cheese on it. It was the perfect starter.
My husband chose the paté. It was a classic chicken liver paté with a shallot and raisin chutney and chargrilled sourdough bread. I wouldn’t have thought of pairing chutney with paté but it works well. The taste of the onion really brings out the meaty chicken taste of the paté. While not large it was the ideal size for a starter.
The main course was a difficult decision. I was didn’t know if I should have the demi poulet and the tagine. The tagine is a Moroccan style stew of butternut squash, carrots, spinach, chick peas and courgettes seasoned with ras al hanout and harissa on a bed of couscous. While this sounds delicious in the end I went for the classic demi poulet. The half roast chicken is marinated in garlic and herbs served with thyme jus and frites.
The chicken was lovely and succulent and the thyme jus set it off to perfection. I could have done with a little more of the thyme jus, the serving was a little small. A little more salad would have been nice as well, with the frites the meal was a little dry. Having said that I did enjoy it and would try it again.
My husband, chose the 5oz minute rump with frites or salad and garlic butter. He said the steak was lovely and tender and the frites nice and crisp. The garlic butter was a nice complement to the steak.
The other options on the mains menu were moules, fresh mussels steamed in garlic, shallot, celery and white wine with frites or beetroot and squash salad. It was good to see some vegetarian options as well as the classics.
Despite feeling pleasantly full we still had enough room for a dessert. After all it wouldn’t be a birthday meal without a dessert would it? There are three choices on the menu, Crème brûlée, Tart au citreon or Cremes glaceés (ice cream). While ice cream is nice it isn’t really that special an end to a meal.
I went for the Tart au citreon or lemon tart. The plate was almost a work of art, the red background made a great contrast to the lemon tart. The tart had a lovely lemon taste which was sharp without being overpowering. The small amount of cream lent a little touch of sweetness which made it perfect. It was a lovely end to a meal.
Crème brûlée was my husband’s choice. It was caramelised to perfection. Cracking through the top layer he was met with a creamy white layer of sweetness. The topping had just the right amount of caramel taste. On the side was an almond biscuit which was ideal for dipping in the creamy dessert.
Read more: Trying the Cafe Rouge Seasonal Set Menu
Café Rouge was an ideal place to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The place itself had a rustic ambience which was charming. We were able to enjoy the food at our own pace without feeling rushed. The service was attentive. When we wanted to order something else they were there to help. The food arrived quickly and there wasn’t a large wait between courses.
While the special menu was limited in comparison to the normal menu it did offer a good choice. We were more than happy with our food and left pleasantly full. It was a nice place to go for a birthday treat and I am sure we will go back again.
Have you ever been to Café Rouge? What did you think? Let me know below.