We decided one day that we needed a new brunch/lunch place! I was feeling particularly picky as well that day so I didn’t feel like the standard brunch food. It wasn’t a good combination waking up starving, but also being picky with food. After some extensive searching on Zomato, we finally came across this little French inspired cafe called Rouge Cafe. This was a bit out of my comfort zone because I rarely eat French as my first meal of the day nor dine in Armadale. I figured this was exactly what I needed, so off we went!
Rouge Cafe is nestled among a strip of boutique shops across from the railway line. Straight away you can tell that this is not a mainstream, in and out, churning numbers type of place. This is a place where locals come to sit back, relax, have a coffee, a bite to eat, with no pressure on them to leave earlier.
The décor reminded me of one of the French cafes we visited in Paris. Use of wood and bricks was evident around the place, and it even had a wrought iron basket right near the door. The floral wallpaper provided the perfect backdrop. A gentle coffee aroma whiffed our way along with the smell of fresh bread. I was a bit overwhelmed as there were so many food items all around me. Cakes, biscuits, bread, salads, olive oil, etc.
The waiter asked if we wanted to sit at the front or the back. Well since the front looked so awesome, guess we had to check out the back! A narrow brick passageway led to the back courtyard. This passageway brought back memories for us, because there was one exactly like this in Prague! This one was a little more spacious though, the one in Prague was so narrow that you could only walk single file, and they also put a traffic light there so you could only walk through when it was green!
As soon as I reached the back courtyard, my jaw just dropped… I had never seen such a beautiful scene for a cafe in Australia. I felt like I was in another country. There’s a lovely painting as soon as you walk in. I will not even attempt to explain how it looks, as I wouldn’t be doing it justice, see for yourself in the picture. There are also plants climbing walls, and marble tables with gold trimmings. My favourite part is that it’s all enclosed. No flies, bees or wasps that I needed to fend off!
Now finally we get to the food. We ordered all of our dishes from the specials board that day. They were the confit duck, wild rice and quinoa salad, smoked salmon crepes, and the tart of the day. Food was spectacular, the confit duck was really appetizing, credit to the balsamic dressing. There was a combination of different textures too, for example the beans in the salad were really crunchy.
The tart was freshly made with pumpkin, baby spinach, capsicum and goats fetta, it was flavoured well. The pastry was crispy and buttery. The side salad had the perfect amount of parmesan cheese in it to give it that wonderful flavour. Small details like this makes the humble side salad that much more enjoyable! For dessert we ordered the compote of summer fruits with vanilla yoghurt. Whilst this was also very good, I found it got a little too sweet towards the end with the poached fruits.
To sum it up, I really enjoyed my visit to Rouge Cafe and am already looking forward to coming back. Whilst good food is undoubtedly important, Rouge Cafe has shown that ambience is just as important for a holistic food experience. It feels like I’m on a mini holiday in Europe when I’m here, and that can never be a bad thing right?
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 14 Beatty Ave, Armadale VIC 3143
Phone: +61 3 9822 3310