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Café Rouge
New Review
43 Frederick Street ,
0131 225 4515
Everyday until 10.30pm
Date: Cafe Rouge

Ooh la la or just okay

Café Rouge opened in 1989 as a small chain and has been sold a number of times since. It was a regular haunt of the heroine of Bridget Jone’s Diary published in 1996 when it still retained a whiff of Parisian aspiration. Restaurants in late eighties Britain had been yuppy, stuffy or Beefeater so Café Rouge with its casual French fayre was rather avant garde.

The landscape has changed. We eat out more and have greater choice. I met my friend Kate at Café Rouge and she told me she was visiting The Honours that weekend whilst I had recently eaten at The Walnut and The Edinburgh Larder Café both of which were exemplary.  So does Café Rouge retain a point of difference in this sea of competition? 

Whilst we read the menu I had pink lemonade and Kate loved her refreshing, sparkly mocktail of apple and pomegranate. The pork rillettes starter for Kate was disappointing though and we concluded a bit of thought was needed as to the colour and presentation of the dish overall. I had vegetable croquettes which had a distinctive pea and broad bean flavour and a good crispy coating. The let down came with the aioli which wasn’t freshly made. 

I chose moules for my main course which came with well-seasoned frites and the mussels were buttony and flavoursome.  A classic white wine, cream and garlic sauce was great for dunking. 

Kate had tart de saison containing lovely chunks of beetroot which mixed deliciously with goats’ cheese and Emmental. She said the short crust pastry was just right but the house salad was again disappointing. She enjoyed the frites too. 

Whilst Kate declined dessert I made room for an apple tarte tatin and I am pleased to report is was tasty and refined. Thin pastry, plenty of caramelised apples and a large dod of ice cream hit a sweet spot.  

So overall we thought Café Rouge was hit and miss. One big hit being our waitress who had a personality that is gold dust to anyone in hospitality. 

Otherwise this eatery’s central location, outside terrace and family-friendly policy gets the thumbs up whilst the food was a bit ‘so so’.  Fresh local produce  doesn't feature on the menu and it  shows. The interior is a tad ‘fatigué’.

It all needs a revamp. (S. Wilson) 

Please read our reviews of other French Restaurants here 

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