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27th June 2015

Bon appétit – Café Rouge at the Mailbox

Café Rouge has a brand new look here at the Mailbox, and with an exciting new menu too, it’s well worth a visit. We sent Lisa along to test out the Parisian inspired bistro, snails included.

With a prime spot overlooking the canal at the Mailbox, Café Rouge is where French food comes to life. The new interior maintains a distinct bistro feel, with splashes of the signature red throughout, though we opted to enjoy our meal on one of the many tables on the outdoor terrace – making the most of the sunshine!

After being shown to our table, we were offered a drink and a choice of bread and olives from the menu. Opting to keep it simple, we went for the classic in-house baguette with butter and the house selection of green and black olives, which arrived within minutes of ordering.

When it came to ordering starters, we were spoilt for choice. Luckily our waitress was on hand to offer suggestions based on our likes and dislikes, and we eventually settled on the chicken liver pâté and champignons à l’ail, mushrooms in a cèpe and garlic cream sauce. Having never tasted snails before, we were also sold on a taster pot of snails in garlic butter, which for just £1.95 was the perfect way to experience the iconic French delicacy.

Starters and snails

Again served quickly, the pâté came with two large slices of grilled bread and a fruity chutney with a little bit of spice. Also served on bread, the mushrooms were well flavoured and generously served. The snails were served in a small dish of garlic butter, which kept them full of flavour and nice and moist. The jury is still out on whether we’d order them again – but they’re definitely worth a try!

For mains, our waitress was happy to suggest both the confit du canard (a slow-cooked duck leg with dauphinoise potatoes, French beans and a cherry sauce) and the moules (mussels steamed in a cream, garlic and wine broth served with fries). As two of the most popular dishes served in the restaurant, we were happy to trust her recommendations, which also included the choice of steaks.

confit du canard and moules

It was clear to see why both dishes were some of the most popular on the menu, both looked instantly appetising and were cooked really well. The cherry sauce for the duck was tangy and sweet, and the broth the mussels were steamed in was fantastic. The portions were generous so we didn’t need to go for any additional sides, though a variety of potato and vegetable accompaniments are available for just £2.95 each.

Still full from our starters and mains, we couldn’t find the room for a full dessert, but after spotting a few coming out of the kitchen it’s safe to say they all looked amazing. Something that restaurants seem to be serving more is your choice of hot drink with a miniature version of a dessert, which was the perfect way to finish our meal. With a choice of teas and coffees and a miniature tarte tatin, tarte au citron or chocolate fondant for £4.50, it’s hard to resist! The fondant was gooey and rich in flavour, and presented really well.

coffee and cake

For a taste of authentic French cuisine, Café Rouge combines classic flavours with modern influences to create a varied menu with lots to choose from, not forgetting the fantastic breakfast and lunch menus too. So for your next meal out, why not choose the new-look Café Rouge here at the Mailbox?

To book your table, click here or call 0121 665 6437. You can also view the full menu here.

Thanks to Café Rouge for inviting us along to give the new menu a try!