This branch of Café Rouge (18 Sheep St) is very close to the RSC theatres and is more convenient for pre theatre dining than many of its natural competitors, such as Pizza Express. Expect it to be busy before 7pm, and although there are plenty of other restaurants in Sheep St, they are likely to be the same, so I’d advise booking. This restaurant is in an old building that is a bit long and thin in shape, but this is likely to be an advantage at busy times, and when you have noisy groups in. I can’t help feeling that the standard Café Rouge theme park French décor inside sits a bit oddly in this building though.
The food is much like any Café Rouge of course, mostly prepared offsite and shipped in to be heated and assembled as required. However, I do think that the standard of ingredients is high enough for most dishes to be pleasant and enjoyable, so provided the service is OK you cannot go seriously wrong. This is the upside of a chain or brand; a decent standardised product that is the same wherever you go, but there is nothing to get particularly excited about either.
I enjoyed one of the current main dishes, Poulet Breton (chicken, mushrooms, leeks, and courgettes with mash for 12.75) which was nice, and large enough not to require a side dish. I also enjoyed some decent Cotes du Gascogne with the meal that costs 5.90 per large glass. The wine list is short but well chosen. Service was very good, and everything arrived promptly and accurately. My second visit to this branch in the last few months, and I expect to be back sometime soon. Note that it closes at 11, so unless your performance finishes quite early, you will not have time to eat here afterwards. The menu changes regularly but a lot of favourites remain, and the overall concept stays the same.
Bargain hunters will not need reminding that there are usually good offers to be had online, including the Tesco scheme if you shop there. This can make a visit here fairly inexpensive, but most offers do not include drinks. It is also worth remembering that you can usually pop in here for a quick snack or light meal, so it is very flexible, unlike some competitors. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a celebration, but it is useful for many other occasions.
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