So it has been years since I last visited a Cafe Rouge, back in the days of my thrifty university life, when dining out was more of an occasional treat – how many years ago, we shan’t go into too much detail…
Opened since 1989, Cafe Rouge in Kew Bridge has recently reopened after undergoing an extensive refurbishment, and is described as its most romantic restaurant to date.
A family-friendly restaurant with a charming view of the River Thames, the new designs are an ode to the famous Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, affectionately known as ‘Love Lock Bridge’.
Walking though the dramatic rouge red curtains at the entrance, the restaurant has a rather warm and intimate feel, with black and white framed artwork depicting Paris’s famous bridges and romantic scenes.
We were sat on the upper floor which had also received a makeover, with its own bar and riverside views. Marble table tops, vintage tassled lighting, banquette seating and a gold ceiling help to complete the authentic Parisian bistro feel. Rays of sunshine penetrate through the glass doors that lead out to the balcony, which would be an excellent spot to dine and relax when the weather warms up in the summer.
Having explored 26 years of Cafe Rouge dishes and French cuisine, from their debut recipes in 1989 right through to current French food trends, the menu has been revamped to include classic Paris snails, Confit de Canard, Poulet Breton and Seabass en Papillote, amongst others.
We were greeted with a welcoming bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc whilst we nibbled on house olives and baguettes with d’Isigny butter.
For my starter, I had the king prawns in garlic and smoked chilli butter, served with baguettes – the prawns were fresh and juicy and the sauce was really flavourful. I also tried Marie’s warm breaded Camembert which was really creamy and indulgent, with a sweet cranberry and redcurrant sauce.
I had the Confit de Canard as my main – slow-cooked Normandy duck leg with dauphinoise potatoes, french beans and cherry sauce. The meat was really tender and delicious although I would have preferred the skin to be slightly crispier. Marie had the classic Boeuf Bourguinon served with green beans, carrots and herb mash. The meat was really soft and tender, and definitely a hearty meat-lovers dish.
For dessert, we shared a small selection of mini desserts: tarte au citron, fondant aux chocolats and tarte tatin. I think that I might have to start veering away from my tendency of ordering mini selections which often tend not to be as satisfying as having a whole dessert…
I might go for the creme brulee or a whole fondant aux chocolats next time.
Overall we had a lovely experience, and the menu definitely looks more enticing now compared to the Cafe Rouge that I visited in the past. The venue itself is charming, situated in a good location and very family-friendly, which is great if you’re a local in the neighbourhood.
The Cheekster, signing out x