Café Rouge

What can I say about Café Rouge? It’s a chain – and if you know that particular chain then you’ll know the Greenwich one.

All the same classic Café Rouge trademarks – but none the worse for that. It’s one of the very few chains that I don’t utterly hate – it has its place – and the food is always pretty ok – if not wildly exciting. The menu never changes of course, but sometimes that’s useful – if you’re in a hurry you can just order your “usual” for speed. It’s a handy place to keep in mind if you’re not going out especially to eat, but are looking for a reasonable option before or after, say, the theatre or Picturehouse (definitely better than the Tapas bar in the Picturehouse – the only bit I really don’t like about the place.)

This particular branch is HUGE – occupying virtually the whole ground of a corner building also containing the truly unexciting Ibis Hotel (when are we going to get a really classy hotel in these parts?) It’s a handy place to meet, especially in summer where you can sit outside on the veranda with a glass of wine, enjoy the view of St Alfeges churchyard, The Mitre’s windowboxes and the nose-to-nose traffic. You will get a dose of carbon monoxide and the guy on the next table’s cigarette smoke too, but that’s modern Greenwich for you.

The staff are friendly (and often actually from France – I had no idea there were so many French people in Greenwich,) the service pretty good, the food not bad and the décor suitably Français, if just a little mass-produced in feel. I really like the corporately mis-matched glass wall lights myself – a nice touch.

You’re never going to be original if you’re a chain, but Café Rouge is really quite ok for all that, and its close proximity to the bit of the market which is threatened (the antiques bit) makes it a popular choice for bargain hunters of a weekend, when it can get a little busy.

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