Eating Out With Kids: Café RougeCafé Rouge is a restaurant chain that I'm quite familiar with but it's one that I've never really considered visiting with the children. It's always been somewhere I've visited for a quick pre-theatre meal and I've enjoyed their Prix Fixe menu a good few times for it's excellent value and tasty options. Last Sunday we were invited along to Café Rouge at the Trafford Centre, Manchester to try out the newly revamped Menu pour les Enfants, having had a preview of it on the Café Rouge website I was interested to see what Bud and LM would make of it.
The Café Rouge Trafford Centre restaurant is situated on the first floor in the Orient are of the shopping mall, which makes it a great option for those visiting the centre for shopping or entertainment. Even though it's inside a mall you'll see the characteristic Café Rouge decor and French style that makes them sorecognisable. We were seated in the outside area of the restaurant which meant we got to enjoy a bit of people watching.
On arrival we were greeted by the host, Ben, who took time to speak to the children and give them their own menus and crayons. He stressed that they were theirs to keep and take home with them which Bud and LM loved. I found his manner to be very welcoming and I liked that he crouched down to speak to the children at their level. It really helped my confidence in eating at the restaurant for the first time before we even sat down.
The children's menu was in the form of a leaflet which unfolded to reveal a big puzzle and colouring in sheet so both LM and Bud got busy with their crayons, while we ordered drinks. This really helped to keep them busy and entertained. Bud and LM both ordered apple juice from the selection of soft drinks and fruit juices on offer. They could also have chosen Bottlegreen fruit cordials or milk (plain or flavoured).
The children's menu has one starter option - Warm Fougasse Finger and Crudités with a tomato dip. These were delivered soon after our drinks so Bud and LM both tucked into these straight away while Ian and I perused the menu. I had a little taste of the bread and dip and both were lovely. The bread was soft and fresh while the tomato dip reminded me of an Italian marinara sauce. Bud cleared his plate and LM ate a good chunk of her starter too. I think it's an excellent idea for a starter and I loved that they arrived before we ordered so the children could be getting on with them. A definite thumbs up.
Children's main courses were a choice of ten options in total. This is a wider choice than many restaurants offer and I think the vast majority of children would be tempted by something on offer. We considered the Petit Croque et Frites (Cheese and Ham toastie with fries) for LM but opted for the Fab Fishcake instead. This is advertised as Salmon Fishcake and Frites but we asked for veggies to be added and it arrived with mixed peas and sweetcorn. The same vegetables were served with Bud's Poulet Goujons (Breaded Chicken Fillets and Fries). Both children tucked in happily, Bud more so when his requested ketchup arrived. He cleared his plate while LM ate all of her veggies and a chunk of fishcake. She was less keen on the excellent fries but I think this was because she was full rather than any reflection on their quality. Both the fishcake and chicken goujons were really tasty.
Dessert offered five options (although one of these was ice cream, with six flavours available alongside three different toppings!) I was pleased to see Fresh Fruit Salad on offer and thought one of my children might have opted for this. Instead LM chose Vanilla Ice Cream with Marshmallows. The ice cream was lovely with real vanilla seeds to be seen.
Bud chose the Fruit Ice Lolly (which was Apple and Blackcurrant flavour) and very much enjoyed it. After dessert Ben the host came over to offer the children some popping candy to try. This was a hit with LM but Bud wasn't so keen.
The Café Rouge Menu pour les Enfants is £6:95 for three courses and a drink. Drinks refills were available for 75 pence extra. I think this is really excellent value for money, based on the food that was served, excellent service and menu options. It's much more of a 'restaurant' than many of the options we consider when eating out with the children and I think it helps to them to become accustomed to more formal dining. We had a lovely family meal and I think we'll definitely be revisiting the restaurant in the future.
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