Not only does Cafe Rouge have a new menu for summer, but my nearest restaurant in Dulwich has also recently undergone a face lift. I loved trying their winter menu last year, so I took The Boyf for a nosy round the newly renovated branch and of course, a taster of their new dishes.
We were welcomed with warm smiles from our waitress for the evening and asked whether we’d like to sit inside or out. As it was a beautiful day outside, we thought it’d be a shame not to sit in the ‘secret’ garden. Most Cafe Rouge’s have a bit of seating outside the front of the restaurant, which is great for people watching, but this intimate garden setting added a certain level of romance to our evening.
I started with a cocktail. I wanted something sweet and boy did our waitress not disappoint with her recommendation. The Fizz La Foire is as sweet as they get with cloudy apple juice, lemonade, elderflower and peach vodka. Just the fruity concoction I was looking for to get my tatsebuds ready!
We decided not to go for the new summer set menu, which sets you back just £12.95 for a starter and a main (add £3 if you fancy dessert), opting instead for new dishes from the main menu. First up were our starters. I went for the tian of crab and avocado. It was basically crab and avocado all smooshed together with coriander mayo, and it was heaven. So very creamy and so very moorish. I could definitely have gobbled another plateful if I didn’t already have a main and dessert to come. James went for the soup de saison. That days soup was pea and mint, which we were both a little unsure about before we tasted it, but it actually went down really well. The fresh mint complimented the pea but not in an overpowering way. It was more of a little aftertaste. Very refreshing.
Next up were the mains. Mine was the crêpe au four which promised plenty of mushrooms, spinach and cheese, and it did not disappoint. I was expecting more of a traditional crêpe, filled and folded on a plate, but what actually arrived was a ceramic pot filled to the brim with creamy goodness. The crêpe was actually layered inside with the rest of the promised ingredients. It was pretty heavy, the kind of heavy that makes your tummy feel a happy fullness. Mind you, I could only manage 2 thirds, or was my body just saving itself for dessert? James had the Tagine. I was a little surprised to even see this on the menu as it’s not a dish you’d usually find being served in a French inspired restaurant. It’s one of Cafe Rouge’s new dishes for summer, so maybe they’re branching out to other cuisines. Nonetheless, James seemed to thoroughly enjoy it as he finished every last bit! Chock-full of all the tasty AND healthy stuff, like butternut squash, chickpeas, courgette and toasted almonds. Even though it didn’t really look it, James said it was really, very filling. So filling, I had to force him into sharing a dessert with me.
That’s my 3rd mention of dessert, so shall we get to it then?
Dessert. My favourite part of any meal, due mainly to my seriously sweet tooth! Even though I was super full, I knew I just had to have a dessert. I saw James eyeing up the coffees so suggested we get the Cafe Gourmand to share as it was a selection of 3 mini desserts that came with an espresso. Crème brûlée is my go-to dessert whenever I’m in Paris, so I was very happy to try Cafe Rouge’s again as it never disappoints. The tarte au citron (lemon tart) was light and refreshing after our rather heavy mains, but the pièce de résistance was definitely the mousse, au chocolat. So creamy and soooo chocolatey. I let James try a little bit before declaring it was just to good to share and scoffing the whole thing. Next time I’m definitely going for the larger version! We ended the evening with one last drink; a beer for The Boyf and Kir Rouge cocktail for me. Yum!
* I was invited along to try Cafe Rouge’s new menu for free, but rest assured, all words and opinions are my own 🙂
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