A little talked about French bistro style restaurant brought to you by the same people that bring you Pescatores and Oyster. I rarely hear about this place but we have gone twice now and I have been impressed both times.
In the summer we went with another couple and sat in their enclosed patio which felt very secluded from the street while still feeling lively and a bit boisterous – particularly when we had a seagull come and visit. Our more recent visit was just the two of us and we were inside. The experience was a quieter, more intimate and had a more lush feel to it. On both occasions the service was very good - knowledgeable, well paced and attentive.
But for the main show. The food. The prices ran a range from the mid-teens to the high twenties for a main course. The selection was fairly large and featured seasonal options – though they didn't change between our mid-August visit and our early October visit, except dessert. The best deal in the house is a three course prix fixe option. You get a set appetizer (prawns), two choices for the main (steak frites or bouillabaisse) and your choice of desserts – all for $30 which is a real bargain.
On my first visit I had halibut wrapped in sage and bacon that was lovely. I skipped the appetizer and had the creme brulee (served with truffles) for dessert. It was just the way I like it best - lightly chilled custard with a crispy brown bruleee. The brulee was not neither burned nor soft, and thick enough to truly crack when you hit it.
On my last visit I did the three course prix fixe. I dithered over this as I do not eat prawns (the mandatory starter) but on request to the server I was given a house salad instead. I was delighted, the salad was perfectly dressed with excellent quality vegetables and a bit of goat cheese added some tang. My steak was perfectly cooked medium rare, the fries were nice and crisp, obviously made in house they still had skin, were thin and still hot. I finished with a red velvet cake with cream cheese butter-cream icing. I was less overwhelmed as this was almost too rich and a bit bland. The cake was moist the the icing tasty but I didn't think the combination really soared.
Bernard has stuck with the prix fixe both times and had nothing but praise for the prawns and the steak, which has come blue rare as requested both times. On our last visit he had the raspberry cheesecake for dessert and it was a winner. The raspberry flavour was strong and had a nice acid bite that paired very nicely with the sweet chocolate crumb crust.
The cocktail menu is extensive with multiple champagne cocktails and the wine selection was quite good and reasonably priced. On our first visit we had the waiter match a wine to our food – two steaks, one halibut and one salmon – and he served us a white that fit the bill.
Bon Rouge is a restaurant that is doing all the right things. A nice environment, great service and wonderful food, that they are actually making themselves. This trifecta is a hard one to achieve in Victoria and I know we will be going back in future to enjoy it again.