Trying the Café Rouge seasonal set menu

February 7, 2018
steak frites from Cafe Rouges seasonal menu

We recently tried the Café Rouge seasonal set menu at our local Newcastle branch. Find out what we thought.

January is a bleak month. The days after Christmas seem to be grey and cold with very little to lift the spirits. During these grey days I found an email in my in-box telling me I I was invited to Café Rouge to try their new seasonal menu for four. I had noticed they were choosing people to go a little while ago and filled in the form, never expecting to get chosen.

We are familiar with Café Rouge having previously been there for a birthday meal.  That was at lunchtime and this would be an evening meal. It would be nice to experience the Parisienne charm of the French bistro at a different time.

Café Rouge, Newcastle

Café Rouge can be found on Grey Street in the centre of Grainger town in Newcastle. Grey street is a beautiful street with Georgian buildings designed by internationally renowned Richard Grainger. It is the historic heart of Newcastle and 40% of the buildings are listed as being of historical and architectural importance. It is worth looking up and admiring the buildings.

There is plenty of parking outside Café Rouge with parking meters along the streets. There is a limit on the time you can stay. After 6:30pm parking is free. Grey Street is also within walking distance of Monument Metro station and not far from several of the bus stations. There is no problem getting there by public transport which is perfect if you want to enjoy a drink.

Inside Cafe rouge newcastle

The interior of Café Rouge oozes French charm with quirky prints on the walls, sparkling glass over the bar and little candles on the table. It only lacks the French language for that French café experience.  At night Café  Rouge busier but service was still friendly and prompt.

Cafe Rouge Newcastle

Cafe Rouge Newcastle

Read more: Making a Big Mac at Macdonalds

The seasonal set menu

The seasonal set menu is available everyday between noon and close of business. You get two courses for £11.50 and can add a dessert for £3.50. At the moment the selection of dishes are perfect for the colder months. They use fresh seasonal winter vegetables. I am a great fan of cooking with seasonal vegetables as vegetables that are in season have much more taste and flavour.

Read more: Wondering what food is in season in February? I have a list with a selection of recipe ideas.


The seasonal set menu has four different starters. These include soupd de campagne, potted mackerel, roast vegetable tartine and pork rillettes. It was hard to decide between the soup and the potted mackerel. The soup de campagne sounds lovely, county vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots, haricot beans, leeks, onions, celery and savoy cabbage. The perfect selection of winter vegetables. I do love mackerel though so that won in the end.

The potted mackerel is a lovely homemade pâté of smoked mackerel with crème fraîche and horseradish. It comes on a wooden board in a lovely little jar with a lid. On the side is a sweet and sour pickled red onion with a chargrilled rye and caraway bread. The mackerel has a lovely smoky taste and the tart bite of the onions works perfectly with it. It was a lovely starter. My son had the same starter.

potted mackerel starter at Cafe Rouge

My husband tried the pork rillettes. Rillettes are similar to pâté but has a courser texture. Pork is chopped and cooks slowly with wine and herbs until soft. These rillettes are made in Lille to a traditional recipe and come with shallot and raisin chutney. There is also a slice of rye and caraway bread. My husband thought it was very tasty.

pork rillettes from cafe rouge

The other choice of starter was a roast vegetable tartine. This is chargrilled sourdough bread with a topping of roast beetroot, butternut squash, goats’ cheese, homemade piperade with watercress.

The Mains

There are five main dishes to choose from on the Café Rouge set seasonal menu so there is bound to be something you like.  My choice was the boeuf pamentier.

The  boeuf parmetier is braised beef in a red wine sauce with a topping of crispy potatoes. It came to the table in a small casserole dish which was rather nice. The potatoes were lovely and crispy and the beef melts in the mouth. The red wine sauce has a lovely rich taste from the onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery & garlic. A couple of mouthfuls had a little too much garlic but overall it was delicious. It could have done with a little salad alongside it though.

boeuf parmetier on the seasonal menu at cafe rouge

My son chose the steak frites which has a £2 supplement. This is always a classic choice. The 5oz British minute rump steak comes with a choice of frites or house salad with garlic butter on the side.  It did not disappoint.

steak frites from Cafe Rouges seasonal menu

My husband’s choice was the Toulouse sausages and  herb mash with shallot gravy. The sausages again are rather garlicky which is great if you love garlic. If you are not so keen it can be a bit of a disappointment. The sausages were lovely and tender and went well with the herb mash and shallot gravy.

Toulouse sausages and herb mash from cafe rouge seasonal menu

If you don’t fancy either of these the other choices are moules, mussels steamed in a cream garlic and white wine sauce with frites or tarte de saison.

What we thought of the seasonal set menu from Café Rouge

If you are looking for a delicious meal in a bistro setting in the centre of Newcastle Café Rouge ticks all the boxes. The restaurant has a nice ambience, service is friendly and fast and the food is good. We did enjoy the meal overall. The dishes had a lovely flavour and there was enough choice on the menu for all the family. For a two course meal in the centre of town the price is reasonable.

We did feel that a couple of the dishes had a little too much garlic. It also would have be nice to have a side serving of salad with the beef just to add a little variety. Café Rouge is a nice setting for an evening meal. It was not to busy and being in central Newcastle you could easily combine a meal with a little late night shopping, a drink or a visit to the cinema or theatre. Overall we enjoyed the meal and would go back another time.

Cafe Rouge Newcastle:

Gainsborough House, 34 – 40 Grey Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne,  NE1 6AE

Why not pin for later?

Trying out the new seasonal set menu at Cafe Rouge in Newcastle

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8 responses to “Trying the Café Rouge seasonal set menu”

  1. Galina V says:

    I think the starters win: the mackerel pate and rilettes look scrumptious. I had to smile at the over-enthusiastic use of garlic. I remember the same issue with the local cafe Rouge from a few years ago. I haven’t been there recently, but used to go often, when we lived in Oxford, and I worked at one of Uni departments, with the Cafe Rouge just a minute away.

  2. They all look like really well prepared dishes – I agree with you about the lack of salad or side servings of veggies though.

  3. Looks a very tasty meal out. Don’t think I’ve been to Cafe Rouge for over 10 years

  4. I have never visited cafe rouge before. It sounds like somewhere my other half would love. It sounds like great value too xx

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