When an email popped into my inbox inviting me along to Cafe Rouge’s Secret Steak Supper Club at the Mailbox, Birmingham the other week, I was intrigued to see what their brand new Autumn/Winter menu has to offer. My initial thoughts – what would make it stand out from every other menu they’ve produced and is it the type of restaurant you’d want to visit on a cold Winter night? As it was the restaurant’s first ever blogger event, I was curious to see how the night would hold up. Needless to say I would definitely go back!
A small but selective group of us were promised an immersive evening of succulent Charolais steaks and indulgent French cheeses, perfectly matched to a handpicked selection of wines and Champagne. Not forgetting we were also given the freedom of picking any starter and main course off the menu to sample. Admittedly I’ve only ever visited Cafe Rouge a handful of times, and this has been when I’ve needed a pit stop after an afternoon of shopping. I don’t believe I’ve visited on a night time before so naturally, I was curious to see how the new Autumn/Winter menu would differ. Surprisingly, the event seemed exclusive as there was only a handful of bloggers and competition winners at the Mailbox restaurant that night.
Canapes and sharing board
To begin, we sampled a selection of tasty canapes and there’s a great selection of starters ranging from Escargot, to salmon and soup. For starters, Josh and I ordered a reasonably priced sharing board between us. The food came out in good time and were pleasantly surprised with the portions. There’s also a wide range of vegetarian and gluten free options available but it’s best to check the Cafe Rough menu online beforehand. The new Charcuterie Et Fromage board (£13.25) amembert baked with chutney and rosemary, smooth chicken liver pâté, a French charcuterie selection, saucisson bon-bons, Rouge olives, French baguette, water biscuits and apple & pear chutney. Paired with a red wine, I think this is the perfect sharing platter for meat and cheese lovers. There’s enough food to hit the spot, but won’t completely fill you up.
Upon arrival, it was said we would be able to taste a selection of red and white wines throughout the night and all were perfectly paired with the selection of dishes we opted for. The wines complimented the selection of steaks brought out and I’m a huge steak lover, I prefer mine cooked medium/rare. We sampled the sauces which were paired with cuts of rump, rib eye, fillet and sirloin. All were cut up and we could try as little or as much as we liked. Steaks at Cafe Rouge range from £12-19 depending on the cut and there is even a Charolais Côte de Boeuf, dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days which is presented on a sharing platter with 2 sides and 2 sauces of your choice. This would cost £18.75 per person.
Would you believe me if I told you that after sampling the different steaks, we were then asked to choose a main meal from the menu! I know that some people did actually order a whole steak for their main meal but I wanted to try something different off the menu. Duck being my favourite meat, I opted for the Confit De Canard Go (£14.75) Josh ordered the Fresh Steamed Mussels which were delicious (£12.75).
Duck and Mussels
I didn’t realise until our meals came out that Josh had ordered 1kg of mussels! Cooked in cream, garlic & white wine, the aroma filled our nostrils and made me crave seafood. Josh gave me some to try and they were tender and perfectly cooked – not too chewy! They came with a side portion of chips which gave the meal that savoury crunch. My confit duck leg was served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and the option of either orange or cherry sauce. Mine was a tasty dish, the meat fell off the bone and the potato was soft, but felt the whole meal lacked substance. Without the cherry sauce, I think I would have struggled to eat it all. Taking my final bite, the realisation then came… we were promised cheese!
Cafe Rouge Cheese Suppliers – Bradburys
Cafe Rouge not only encouraged us to sample the different types of cheese they provide, but the actual cheese suppliers themselves came and spoke to us about where their produce comes from and how it is made. I thought this was a great touch as I’m always intrigued to know where the food I eat comes from. It was clear to see that the suppliers were passionate about their produce. I’m not a huge fan of ‘tangy’ or ‘blue’ cheeses, I like to stick to the mild ones such a goats cheese and brie. Josh on the other hand loves the foul smelling ones. This is how much we differ in our opinions of cheese! And finally… the dessert!
Sweet Desserts at Cafe Rouge
Although the Cafe Rouge Dessert Menu might look impressive, there was no way I was going to manage a whole one to myself. I know, what a pathetic attempt at food blogging! Nevertheless, I was happy to see that we were able to try a small selection of the desserts. A slither of the the zesty Lemon Tart made me squeeze my face up but was certainly the tastiest dessert on the plate. The new ‘Rum Baba’ (£5.95) – a light sponge cake soaked in a rum sauce with crème fraîche was Josh’s favourite by far. Overall, a fantastic selection of desserts but it was a shame I couldn’t eat much more. If I wasn’t a huge fan of Cafe Rouge before, but after sampling their steak menu and sharing boards, they’ve now enticed me to go back.
Have you visited Cafe Rouge recently? What do you think of their brand new Autumn/Winter menu? I was kindly invited to sample the new menu at Cafe Rouge, 174-176 Wharfside St, Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RN.