Café Rouge at Gunwharf Quays has recently had a make-over and a new seasonal menu. Can you believe it’s been 10 years already for them at this site!
Last week I had the opportunity to go and sample this brand new menu, which boasts their most authentic and exquisite dishes to date. The décor is cleaner and brighter than before, but still stays true to its identifying colours and bistro feel.
I was really pleased to see Escargots (AKA snails) on this new menu. At the tasting evening held a few weeks prior these were handed out as canapés to sample. Looking at people’s faces there was a mixed reaction to trying them out. For me it’s a dish I love, and having travelled to other countries including Malta, this is a dish that is popular in many places, and truly delicious. I was looking forward to seeing how they would materialise into a restaurant dish.
Whilst we perused the menu, we nibbled on a selection of olives and a plate of mixed breads. The caraway bread lacked in flavour for me, so perhaps this could be improved.
I encouraged my party to choose dishes off this new menu, and most obliged! Between us we tried out the salmon ceviche, ragout d’escargots and crevettes for starters. Everyone really happy with their choices, but especially pleased that the escargot was excellent! High praise indeed, as I had my doubts as to whether they would be rubbery, in fact they were succulent and flavoursome especially with the added truffle oil. Served almost as a pie with a puff pastry top - a ‘must try’ dish!
I ordered the bouef bourguignon for my main course. We agreed it was the best dish. Nice to have fresh chopped herbs folded through the mash potato too, and presented well. Other mains ordered included the slow cooked duck leg, which didn’t seem to have been given much of a makeover, sea bass fillet which was a good size portion, and a sirloin steak.
We found a small space for sampling the puddings! What was nice regarding the dessert menu was the addition of quirky flavour sorbets and ice creams. Crème brulees were served with a delicious strawberry and black pepper sorbet, and the creamy chocolate ganache was topped with chocolate lime & chilli sorbet. Perhaps not classically French, but what restaurant doesn’t have to tweak and adapt a little to remain fresh to keep our interest.
I had somewhat fallen out of love with Café Rouge, but this timely all-round makeover has certainly whetted my enthusiasm to return.
Wine is now supplied by Bibendum