There are very few restaurant groups we rate. Strada in Cardiff Bay used to be a firm favourite but they changed their menu and lost us. Café Rouge on the other hand has proved consistently good for the last several years.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re not perfect all the time (no restaurant is), but they are pretty consistent. And if you ask any restaurant owner if they could have one wish, it would be to be consistently good.
In sport, consistency wins titles – you get the picture.
Anyway, date night came around (as it does most Thursdays), and we thought let’s try Café Rouge. We’d heard there were some new gins on the menu and, being partial to gin, we thought we’d give it a go. This isn’t going to be one of those rambling, witty reviews by the way. I can write rambling, witty reviews but this is just a quick heads up on what was a pretty enjoyable date night.
The gin blooms are cracking. I mean really good. I thought I’d been clever choosing the pomegranate but my good lady trumped me with the grapefruit one. The pomegranate was lovely but the grapefruit? Ooooooh, that’s a man’s gin right there.
Starters arrived – roast vegetable tartine for my better half and I plumped (and they were) for the prawns. Neither of us were disappointed.
For mains, Jennifer opted, sensibly, for the moules. How could they disappoint? And they didn’t. Half a kilo of non-disappointment actually – and, by the quiet calm that followed, they certainly hit the spot.
Now every time I go to Café Rouge, I choose the duck with cherries. Tonight was going to be different. I was going to try something new! Forget it. Duck please…
The duck is always good – sometimes it can be a tiny bit dry but it’s never a deal breaker as I always ask for a little extra jus. Tonight, however, they got it spot on – beautiful. Perfect vegetables and dauphinoise potatoes completed an excellent dish.
Usually two courses are enough but this was a celebration of some sort – a minor one I recall (we make them up sometimes), but certainly worthy of a third course.
Rhubarb and plum crumble for the lady and I, being a slave to anything cherry flavoured, opted for the honeycomb parfait with Morello cherry compote. The crumble was as deliciously crumbly and crunchy as the parfait was smooth and sumptuous. Both winners – both perfectly complemented the starters and mains.
At this point, I have to mention the service. The several ladies who tended to us throughout the evening were excellent and a credit to the restaurant.
I don’t usually wave a flag for restaurant groups, as I mentioned previously, but Café Rouge is a notable exception; it is excellent in every way.
So to sum up the evening: beautiful company, relaxing ambience, great food, superb gins (plus a cheeky bottle of rose) and excellent service. Well worth a visit if you’re in St David’s 2 for lunch or dinner.
My only further thought was that it would have been nice to have dimmed the lights a little. It’s only just occurred to me while writing. It didn’t matter on Thursday but, if a great evening could have been made perfect, that might have just swung it.
St David’s 2 Cardiff, KUG03, 13 Upper East Side, Cardiff CF10 2EF
029 2023 6574