Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beware of the Rouge!

The ubiquitous rarely ever bought to fruition 'Plan A' for T and I was the rather lovely H Forman salmon and lobster fishcakes which I've waxed lyrically about on several occasions. Which such thoughts in mind was sallied forth to the largest Waitrose near T to attempt to secure ourselves some but thwarted her local Waitrose doesn't stock them (neither does mine or D's in Cambridge unfortunately, I think we may need to start a campaign!) So we swiftly moved on to 'Plan B' which was hunting down some brunch somewhere. We settled on a extremely American Caé Rouge, or so it seemed to me. Maybe it was the fact that it wasn't in a high street but a detached 'hut' next to a Drive-in golden arched place. And also the weather seemed unaccustomedly British (I know we never tire of moaning about our weather), it just seemed like we should have just left a freeway in Florida and found a little complex with a Motel 6 and a Denny's or something. But here we were in a little French place in North London craving a spot of Eggs Benedict or another delectable brunch dish. There's no beloved Eggs Benedict so I thought I'd not have a main dish and instead have two of the starters - a delicious sounding Crêpe D'Eglefin which is listed as a baked Brittany pancake with a creamy smoked haddock filling and some of their scrummy Chicken liver parfait, which is served with Roscoff onion & plum chutney with French bread. T plumped for one of her old favourites - a Brie and Spinach tart.
In the meantime they had a card promoting some fabulous sounding warm onion sharing bread and as two renowned haunters of gorgeous bread purveyors so we thought we really should try some. And it was extremely good indeed! But somewhat large! Maybe they thought we were going to share it around the other tables - but that was incredibly unlikely for a pair of bread monsters! Very sticky, unctuous and wonderful, and fortunate really considering what followed!
T was very happy with her regular Café Rouge treat - Brie and spinach tart. She's asked for no chips to darken her plate and an accompanying salad instead. Such self control!
I was looking forward to the crêpes as I'm a big fan of smoked haddock and the creamy sauce sounded good also. But lo, what is lurking beneath the tasty looking pancakes? Answer - an entirely unnecessary layer of tomato sauce. Now obviously most of the world don't join me in my dedicated tomato avoidance which is fine but for those of us who eschew in fact violently shun the dreaded red stuff it's not too much to ask for a mention on the menu. Tomato sauce it not something that can be picked off of left on the side of the plate. It seeps into everything and pervades all the other ingredients. And it's just horrible! It tried to delicately pick of the bits of the pancake that I considered edible, i.e. devoid of tomato sauce but it rose up and took the crêpes prisoner. So I left it.
Fortunately the liver parfait was buttery, smooth and very delicious so I just ate that instead. And it was hardly a problem, we had both inadvertently eaten our body weight in bread so it wasn't too bad a loss. But I was surprised that the fact I'd barely touched the dish wasn't even noted when the not so empty plates were removed. I did mention after we paid that I was unhappy that the inclusion of tomato was entirely left off the menu. I left it until the bill was settled so they could see I wasn't just trying to get a refund. Our waitress was polite but entirely didn't care whether I liked the food or whether I ate it or not. Hmmm! Well at least the bread was good!

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