/ / OOOH LA LUNCH – CAFE ROUGE [REVIEW]

OOOH LA LUNCH – CAFE ROUGE [REVIEW]

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Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford

This weekend was delicious and stomach churning in equal measure as we visited Cafe Rouge in Stratford Upon Avon with the boys to sample their new children’s menu. I love Shakespeare’s County – I grew up there, ate ice cream with my American penfriend [of some 34 years now!] whilst they were on their tour of Europe, I chased butterflies with my granny in the farm every Summer, and ran my first ever Race for Life here whilst I was training for for Regular Commissions Board to be an Army Officer back at the turn of the century [now I feel very old].

So, we arrived in the downpour and after a few rounds with the car park payment machine, we splished and splashed…and sploshed our way to Cafe Rouge on Sheep Street.  Although we were visiting to try the children’s menu at Cafe Rouge with our boys and to see what they thought, we also bought my parents along to sample a little French fayre before our holiday together at Glisten in The Dordogne.

All I knew of Cafe Rouge before we visited was that it’s a French bistro chain of sorts – so it was refreshing to be able to visit somewhere that wasn’t an establishment we’d normally choose to eat at with the boys, and from the outside it looked rather more upmarket than the usual restaurants we’ve visited – except for Disney, of course – there’s no restaurant more grand than Cinderella’s Table at the Castle.

Anyhow, eating with three boys who are five years and under is always going to be a challenge.  I learned from my first son that restaurants and baby boys generally do not mix.  He wasn’t disruptive as in noisy – he just wanted to be up and about, which meant one of us wasn’t seated at the restaurant table.  Hardly a family meal.  Lyoto decided to run laps in Disney World and although Hero is always content in his high chair at home, in the public arena all bets are off with children.

Cafe Rouge Stratford Sheep Street French

LOCATION

Cafe Rouge is found on Sheep Street in Stratford Upon Avon with roadside, metered parking and many other car parks in the vicinity.  It’s two minutes walk from the picturesque boating lake and green – and as with all of Stratford, it’s just gorgeous.
The Café also has a courtyard garden to the rear, which I managed to pop up and have a look at before we entered to eat.
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Courtyard
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Garden
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford  Quotes

ARRIVAL

Anyhow, we arrived ten minutes late and introduced ourselves, whereupon we were greeted warmly, seated immediately and offered a high chair which we gladly accepted.  The mister kept Hero on his lap until the food arrived as we didn’t want him getting twitchy waiting.  The high chair was a pull-to-the-table design [which I prefer as it allows Hero to get close to the dinner table like his brothers] clean and wooden, with a lap strap for safety.

The menus arrived and the boys were very excited that they got separate  colour-in menus with a pop a point crayon, and they all settled down to colour whilst we scoured the menu to see what was available.  Jensen decided to translate the menu for Granny and teach her know how to say ‘Bonjour’.

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu

THE MENU

Our waitress was absolutely lovely and offered us drinks within minutes of seating, then came back for our orders.  Being wet, soggy and English I ordered a cup of tea like my dad, granny had water, the mister ordered a limon pressé and the boys had orange juice [which came with delicious pulp] and cola.

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu drinks

The brilliant aspect of the menu is that if your little one wants to try something a little more French and grown up, they can choose from the “petits plats”, which Jensen did, and had king prawns in garlic and smoked chill butter with baked in-house baguette, which filled him up but left room for dessert too.

In total, we ordered:

Petits plats


CREVETTES [for jensen]

king prawns in garlic & smoked chilli butter with baked in-house baguette
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu Crevettes

CROQUETTES DE CANARD 
duck croquettes, pea shoots and frisée with orange & chilli marmalade

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu Croquettesde Canard

CHAMPIGNONS À L’AIL SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS

mushrooms in a cèpe & garlic cream sauce on grilled rye & caraway bread

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu champignons

CAMEMBERT

authentic breadcrumbed cheese with cranberry & redcurrant sauce

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu camembert

and then….

TRY OUR TASTER POT OF SNAILS AND GARLIC BUTTER 1.95

Yes, I tried them.  There’s a video. It’s not flattering, and my son is ashamed of me. 
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu snails
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu escargots
It seems that everyone except me can stomach snails.

Plats chauds

MOULES

mussels steamed in a cream, garlic & wine broth and frites

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu modules

ROUGE BURGER

7oz Aberdeen Angus beef burger in a bun with salad and fries

DEMI POULET

half-roast chicken marinated in thyme, garlic and black pepper with wild rocket, frites and thyme jus
Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu burger poulet

Lyoto made his choices from the children’s menu:

WARM FOUGASSE FINGER & CRUDITÉS

SUITABLE POULET GOUJONS

ICE CREAM SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS
and Jensen decided he would get a dessert too from the children’s menu and chose the chocolate crêpe with vanilla ice cream.

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu goujons

As we wanted to sample as much as we could from the menu, we decided that I would order from the petits plats and pick from those and our waitress, realising this, offered to bring everything together to the table so that we wouldn’t be eating at separate times, which I was extremely grateful for.

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu food spread
Everything was absolutely delicious and the service was impeccable.  We were particularly impressed that the children’s fries were not salted unlike the adult menu, and that the vegetables served as part of the starter with the warmed artisan bread were not only full of seasonal freshness and flavoursome, but also cooked to perfection.  I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a carrot so garden fresh and heavenly….and the crepe…. Ohhh, the crepe.  I was in Strasbourg all over again.

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu crepe dessert

The atmosphere inside the restaurant is cosy and family friendly, and to the back of the café is an outside courtyard with Shakespearean quotes in French, which the boys loved looking at, and repeating whilst pretending to be French actors [don’t ask].

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu outside garden

SETTLING UP

Our entire bill came to £77 for our whole family – which is amazing value for the food we ate.  We paid at the table, tipped electronically and were thanked very graciously for coming on ur departure.

Our lunch was such a fantastic experience that we managed to spend two hours enjoying our meal at a leisurely pace with the whole family – and now I’ve crossed “eat a snail” off my bucket list, too!  Merci, Café Rouge!  Look out for our video review next week on our YouTube channel!

Cafe Rouge French Restaurant Stratford Children's Menu leaving
Cafe Rouge Stratford Shakespeare balloon

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet.  I have not paid for the product or to attend the event.  I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

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