Rouge Bistro has been one of those places that have long been on my list. It's not like I haven't made an effort to go and try it, but my delays have been more attributed to the fact that it is so busy, it has been very difficult for me to get a table. In the past half a year or so I've tried booking a table mid week for the weekend, to find that all tables have been booked out in advance. Getting quite frustrated with the inability to get a table, I finally booked brunch two weeks ahead, and managed to get a table at 10am.
Arriving exactly at 10am, we still had to wait around 10 minutes for a table, as the place was completely packed.
The cafe it turns out, had quite substantial capacity. With seating outside and inside. We were glad to get an inside table.
The menu was comparatively quite short, with both food and drink on one page. Food was sorted into sweet and savoury whilst drinks were sorted into hot and cold. The theme was very modern, and not the regular simple breakfast staples of bacon and eggs.
Water came very quickly, before we had even ordered, which is always appreciated.
Between my two companions and I we ordered a latte, flat white and cappucino. They were all presented immaculately. I found the coffee to be quite strong, but they didnt seem to have a large option and the milk could have been a bit richer.
Our food came super quickly after ordering (within 15 mins). My first companion had the Omelette. It contained pork belly, slaw, spiced labne, black sesame aioli and was served with a side of ciabatta. The omelette reminded my companion quite a bit of omurice from Japanese restaurants, but instead of fried rice, the inside was refreshing and crunchy coleslaw. It was very delicious and crispy, but we would have liked a little more pork belly in the omelette to make it a bit more meatier. The little pork belly that he had though, was very soft and tender.
My second companion had the avocado on sourdough, topped with chorizo, poached eggs, hazelnut dukkah and dill cream cheese. This was the more conservative of choices that morning, and executed wonderfully. The toast was dense and filling, despite being one slice it filled us up well for breakfast, and the eggs were nice and runny without being undercooked. The chorizo was well received by my companion, although I for one can't really appreciate too much spice early in the morning. I found the highlight of the dish to be parsley oil, which gave it a lot more depth (the only other place that does this would be my brekky favourite, double shot).
Feeling somewhat adventurous, I decided on the Savoury Waffle with popcorn chicken, fried egg, smoked aioli, carrot jam and maple syrup. I also added an extra side of bacon. The waffle wasn't overly salty, and I liked how it had added herbs and grated carrots inside, and despite my initial apprehension, it was surprisingly tasty with sweet maple syrup on top. I also enjoyed the crunchy popcorn chicken (which I wish I could have every day for breakfast). The extra bacon was very generous in portion, I shared it with my companions, but was a little overly salty and not as crispy as I would have liked.