Reviewed by Melody Floyde
The Café Rouge restaurant in Exeter is situated within the restaurant quarter of the Princesshay Shopping Centre in the centre of the city just off the High Street. It is very easy to find and there are several car parks nearby.
The restaurant has just reopened after a three-week refurbishment. My partner and I visited on Sunday lunchtime and were immediately impressed with the appearance of the restaurant. The entrance was clean and welcoming and displayed a 5 star score on the doors hygiene rating. In the centre of the restaurant was a large bar and seating was arranged around this.
The décor of the restaurant was in the style of a French brasserie, with lots of French posters and pictures on the walls and bottles of wine on display. Everything looked clean and fresh but was made to look traditional.
On arrival at the restaurant we were warmly greeted and immediately shown to our table and were told our waiter (Simon) would be with us shortly. He appeared moments later with the menus and took our drinks order straight away. I had a diet coke and my partner, who wanted a glass of red wine, asked for his recommendation for a medium-bodied wine and was advised that the Merlot was a good choice (it was!).
We were left for a few minutes to look at the food menu and on his return, with our drinks, Simon was able to answer a couple of questions we had about items on the menu. We were very impressed with his knowledge of the menu, especially as it was so extensive.
We decided to order Pate and Cheese soufflé for starters followed by Confit Duck and Sea bass for our main courses. Simon made me aware that the sea bass did not come with any potatoes and asked if I wanted to order any as an extra (I decided not to as I wanted to have room for dessert!).
After a short wait our starters arrived and they both looked great. My cheese soufflé was delicious and was served with apple and chive salad which was light and just the right size for a starter. My partner was impressed with the pate which was very tasty and came with two decent sized slices of rye bread and chutney. We both cleared our plates and these were cleared away very quickly.
After another short wait our main courses arrived. My sea bass was cooked ‘en papilotte’ which means in paper, so it was served still wrapped in the parchment it was cooked in. Inside was a sea bass stuffed with leeks and lobster butter and served with piperade (which as Simon explained was similar to ratatouille but without the aubergine!). The fish was perfectly cooked and was delicious. My partner was equally impressed with his duck which was served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and cherry sauce.
We both cleared our plates, and again these were cleared away very quickly. Simon then brought us the dessert menus to look at. This was the tricky bit as there were so many yummy sounding desserts to choose from. In the end I went for the chocolate fondant (Simon’s recommendation) and my partner chose the Lemon Tart. He also ordered a coffee.
The coffee arrived very quickly, followed soon after by the desserts. My chocolate fondant was heart shaped and served with a scoop of chocolate and raspberry ice cream and a sprinkle of dried raspberries, it looked and tasted delicious. My partner’s lemon tart was served with crème fraiche and a sprig of mint, he was also impressed and described it as well balanced and tangy! Again we both cleared our plates.
Overall we were really impressed with our experience at Café Rouge in Exeter, the service was brilliant, our waiter was very attentive, friendly and knowledgeable and the food was served very quickly, in total we were in the restaurant for less than 1½ hours to eat three courses and drinks. The restaurant was clean and fresh, and most importantly the food was delicious.
We also noticed that there were several families eating in the restaurant at the same time as us and we will definitely visit again either on our own or with our two young children.
For more information, to view menus or to book a table visit www.caferouge.com.
Cafe Rouge, 24 Bedford Street, Princesshay, Exeter, EX1 1LL | 01392 251042