Cafe Rouge Bayswater – testing the new low cal menu

Since New Year’s Day I’ve been trying to eat healthily. By doing so I feel better, I look better and my whole outlook on food is different. If you read this blog you’ll know that I have a naughty day here and there and review restaurants and gelaterias or I’ll write up a healthy recipe. Today however, I’m going to mention a new trend that seems to be happening in well-known chain restaurants.

It’s really hard to eat out when you’re on a diet. You never know how many calories are hidden away in the dressing or what the steak was cooked in so it’s really reassuring that establishments like Pizza Express and Café Rouge have started to do what I like to call a “skinny menu”. Though 500-600 calories isn’t really ultra skinny you at least know exactly what you’re eating and can look at the menu in terror when you realise what you thought was a good option didn’t quite make the list.

Recently, after a day of arguments, my boyfriend and I decided to go out and eat. It wasn’t a naughty day so we had a limited selection but we settled up Café Rouge in Whitely’s.

The restaurant itself is tucked away on the top floor right at the back of the shopping centre. It still has the signature look of Café Rouge, though the lights were a lot dimmer than I can recall other Café Rouge restaurants being, and has a fairly warm, homely feel. It was fairly quiet, about six tables in use on what should have been a busy night. Even with so few parties, the tables were so close together that it was hard to talk without thinking that others were listening in.

We ordered pretty sharpish, being on a diet meant that our choices were restricted to eight options – still a good list in my opinion. Surprisingly, the options don’t sound low cal at all: Gratin d’Aubergine, Tartine a la Grecque, Bouillabaisse etc they all sound gooey and fatty and delicious. We chose the Souffle au Fromage and the Salade de Boeuf but I’ll get to that in a moment.

We ordered our food and drinks at the same time. We got our drinks after about 5 minutes with a snarky tone from the waitress almost mocking our choices of a diet coke and a tap water. We then waited a further 15 minutes before our food arrived.

I was really surprised when we got our food. I expected the smaller calorie count to come from a smaller plate of food but they were pretty sizeable portions… actually almost too much food.

I have had to lighten these photos dramatically as it was so dark in the restaurant

I had the cheese soufflé and I honestly don’t have a clue how it’s under 600 calories. It was very large, very creamy and very cheesy. There was even a big piece of melted Brie in the middle that oozed out and was very exciting. It was very rich and if I had eaten lunch I don’t think I could have finished it but I was left full, happy and cheesed out. It also came with a mixed salad of tomatoes, rocket and green beans with a typical French dressing that seemed to lack oil as it was a little thin but still tasty. It actually helped freshen up the cheese so it wasn’t overwhelming.

My boyfriend had the beef salad and it was huge. He had a whole steak that was cooked medium and a big plate of the mixed salad with French dressing. I tried a piece of his beef and it was tender, juicy and cooked just right. I’m not sure if the price tag of £15.25 is completely right but it was a good dish and one that I would happily eat over and over again.

We were really pleased with the food. We both felt full, we both felt satisfied and neither of us could believe that it was a healthy meal.

In all, it was pretty much a success. The food was good. We paid £30 for two people and it was close to home. I would say that the only real downside was the waiting staff as one girl was rude when she brought out our order and the other was rude when she took our payment until we left a tip. Other than that it was an enjoyable trip.

I’m not sure if it would be a regular eating spot for us but it is nice to know that you can have a really satisfying meal and not feel guilty for it pretty much anywhere in London.
Cafe Rouge on Urbanspoon

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9 thoughts on “Cafe Rouge Bayswater – testing the new low cal menu

  1. Kuki says:

    This is so weird! I often stalk menus and especially since I’ve started my “Project Fat Free Kuki” I’ve been doing it more so! Today I was browsing Cafe Rouge menus and specifically looking at the less than 600 cals meals. I then I went on twitter saw your tweet! I think its a sign to go tonight! :-) I love a bit of Cafe Rouge now and then but I think the prices are quite dear. My brother and I go often on a Tuesday as after 5pm its 30% off for students! Vouchercloud often has deals too. I think 600cals is not the healthy lovely meal that all these restaurants make out but once in a while it’s okay. Now. What should I eat tonight… hmmm….

    Kuki xxx

  2. I miss Cafe Rouge! Well, there’s a lot I miss about London. Thank you so much for the lovely, as well as hunger-inducing, trip down memory lane.

  3. Really? I have tons of friends raising kids in London as we speak, nice kids that behave so much better than many of the kids out here in Orange County!

    The Barbican ROCKED. Loved having the two cinemas, art galleries, restaurants and events right on the doorstep. I wish I could kick my ex husband out of the flat and put you guys in there.

    And thanks for the follow. :)

    • That would be amazing! My bf has been trying to convince me to move East… maybe this is the nudge I need.
      He grew up in Orange County. I think the constant presence of Disneyland spoiled him a little haha.

      • The Barbican is an amazing place to live. And yes, being so close to the Big Mouse and the crazy plastic surgery…well, it makes life interesting. Yikes, there’s probably as many shrinks as divorce attorneys here…

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