You already know that I’m a huge fan of Cafe Rouge – I adore their cosy little branch at Brindley Place in Birmingham which is sat picturesquely right on the canal. That of course doesn’t mean that I don’t ever pop into another branch, even in another city (the one in Solihull has this really dark and warm pub feel to it, so lovely to sit there and enjoy your dinner!). Last week my friend & I stop by at Cafe Rouge at The Mailbox, Birmingham to get a taste of their new Spring Set Menu & I kid you not – it might just be the loveliest Cafe Rouge I’ve been to so far.
🍷🍴 Cafe Rouge at The Mailbox
I love restaurants which have that open space plan, lots of little Parisian bistro kind of tables and an overwhelming amount of natural light (promise you it’s not JUST for Instagram snaps!). And that’s exactly what the Cafe Rouge Mailbox is – it’s cosy but spacious with a lovely view of the canal and Birmingham skyline in the distance. We sat there on a day which was ever so slightly gloomy (just like the remaining 364 days in a year when you live in England) but the signature red balconies and large windows made it look bright and inviting.
🍗🧀🌿 The new Spring Set Menu
Their new Spring Set Menu is in essence much lighter than the one they were serving in winter (who wants to have a food baby that’s putting them to sleep when there’s just so much to explore in the city!). For my starter I tried Mackerel Rillettes (rustic homemade pâté of sustainably sourced smoked mackerel, crème fraîche & horseradish, with dill pickled cucumber and chargrilled rye & caraway bread) and despite me being slightly worried I’d smell like a plonky fish afterwards it was absolutely delicious. It came in a little Kilner jar (they completely stole my heart at that point already!) and you just spread it yourself on a slice of soft sourdough bread. I loved the old school feel of it (not gonna lie it reminded me of Czech sourdough with lard & onions the way it was presented – way healthier though, obviously!). My friend tried Terrine de Gambon (ham hock, pea & mustard terrine with shallot & raisin chutney, baby watercress and chargrilled rye & caraway bread) which was equally as tasty – even if a touch smaller than mine (I have a bigger belly so it was only a fair split!).
For mains I had Porc a la Viennese which constituted of a panéed pork fillet served with a nut sauce, thyme jus, fried free-range egg, capers and chips. If you’re a continental soul then you will absolutely love this – I mean, who doesn’t love a good schnitzel, right? This one was exquisite – just the right amount of softness to the meat and really finely milled crumbs on top. It was pretty much as big as my head so I could barely finish my chips! My friend had the 5oz ‘Minute’ Rump Steak (a British rump steak served with chips or a salad) which was just as huge!
For dessert we picked the Torte au Chocolate which was essentially the softest of brownies with some vanilla crème fraîche on top. We also tried their Gin Blooms cocktails which were insanely delicious – and also insanely sneaky because they tasted like sweet fruit and all things nice but trust me, there was a decent shot of gin in them!
As always, Cafe Rouge has won some brownie points in my heart and I will be returning to stuff my belly with more delicious French dishes with a British twist! Their Spring Set Menu is only £10.95 for 2 courses (which trust me is more than enough to feed a little horse!) but if you fancy pudding then it’s just extra £3 on top! You can find all their menus right here.
💭 Cafe Rouge very kindly invited us to try their new set menu (thank you!) – my secret love affair with Cafe Rouge has been cultivated over a couple of years now and it doesn’t look like another restaurant will put a halt to it anytime soon.