Knowing that I am a sucker for french food, my best friend took me to Cafe Rouge on my last night in Oxford since both of us felt completely under dressed for Pierre Victoire next door.
We entered and the ambiance was that partially charming, partially tacky faux Paris. Bright walls, bright pictures and waiters with fake accents. Why a restaurant would feel the compulsion to do this with such close proximity to France, I have no idea. (It wasn't until later that I discovered this was a chain, so the fake accents now make sense).
We started with the fish duo with cress and croistini to split, which was was flavorful and tasted fresh. I continued my meal with the duck confit. The duck was cooked properly and it wasn't too salty as duck confit often is. However, I still felt that I've had better elsewhere and was left a bit unimpressed. I felt the worst part of the meal was the side of the potatoes dauphinoise--extremely dry. Usually I love dauphinoise potatoes but this was dense and overcooked. However, the haricots verts on the side were perfectly cooked, which I appreciated greatly. And this of course was complemented perfectly by a great Cab that tasted a lot better than the scent would lead me to believe.
For dessert, we both had double espressos and something that resembled and strawberry and blueberry pavlova, but filled with a raspberry sorbet and topped with a traditional double cream. Though the espresso was not the best, the pavlova-esque item was a standout. The meringue was the perfect texture and the strong flavors of the raspberry sorbet were surprising and perfect with our coffees. The only gripe I have is that the strawberries and blueberries were obviously frozen (still quite cold when the dish was plated). However, it's England so I wasn't really expecting fresh produce.
It was a lovely meal with a great friend. I really cannot excuse overcooked sides, but with nice service, good wine and the dessert's saving grace, I will give this place 4 stars.
My best friend, knowing my love of food and all things French, took me here while visiting her some time back. It definitely left an impression on me, it was that good!
The place itself is great - dim lighting, dark red walls covered in kitschy clocks and posters, tables tightly packed in comfortably - and the food is delicious! I ordered the Saucisses de Toulouse (smoked sausage and potato salad) and was very satisfied. I also tried my boyfriend's Steak Frites that was cooked to perfection.
If I ever have the privilege of visiting Oxford again, I definitely want to make this one of my first stops. I'm still thinking about this place.
***I do have to say, I didn't realize this was a chain in the UK until after I wrote this review. I learned it from watching Yelp!***
We eat here regularly despite it being a chain. The food is pretty good. The service is good, too. I really don't care what's on the walls as long as they're not bullfight posters or Elvis on velvet.
The restaurant has been here a long time and has been pretty consistent in quality and service.
no dude. this place sucks. how it exists next to pierre victoire i don't even know. but we did get a kick out of the fake frenchified english words on the menu.
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