So last week I swung on by Cafe Rojo. I wont lie, I stop by there a lot. It is partly down to their amazing lemon cheesecake. There are other flavours, heck there are other desserts, but I seriously doubt that I will ever love another like I love that cheesecake… Anyway I got the chance to have a chat with Annette the co-owner about how Cafe Rojo came about. ( I also found out that it is she who makes that cheesecake, be still my beating heart!)
Annette has always been involved in the restaurant business, even when she was back in the UK. When she first moved to Gibraltar in 2003 she found herself working at one of the other restaurants based here, until the summer of 2006 when she and her partner Luis (now head chef at Cafe Rojo) decided that this was the time for them to start-up their own restaurant. By October of the same year Cafe Rojo was born.
When you walk into the restaurant you are greeted by low muted lighting, a cool and tranquil room, modern art adorns the walls and it feels very chic but cosy. Take your seat and peruse the menu. The menu Annette tells me has been inspired by numerous other chefs, reading through their recipes and then giving the ideas Cafe Rojo’s own little twist, combined with some of her and Luis own favourite dishes. I can personally recommend the spicy beef salad or the salmon, langoustine and spinach risotto. My two favourites. My friend always has the sesame chicken, deep friend mozzarella and pineapple salad with chilli and honey dressing. Just typing this is making my mouth water!
The menu is extensive, and Annette tells me they do change it according to the season. All of the products are brought in fresh that day and prepared as and when needed. Local fisherman come straight to the restaurant to sell their catches, and these fish will inevitably become the special of the day. A large part of the restaurants trade comes from the local community so season in and season out some dishes remain, it has also been known for the kitchen to rustle up an old favourite even when it no longer appears on the menu. (Also worth noting is that some special dietary requirements can be catered for, but you will need to book ahead as supplies will need to be sourced in advance of your visit.)
It is this attention to detail, and customer care that has most of the local area return again and again. Annette is very proud of her staff, and rightly so. The staff here are not just friendly and efficient, they remember their regular customers, but are equally welcoming to new people who stop by. They stop and say hello, and are always ready to help you with any issue that may arise. The team are gelled. They care about one another, they get on and it shows in the level of service every customer gets. There is a real family feeling to the place.
It was this atmosphere that led to us (myself and Mr BotR) holding our wedding lunch at Cafe Rojo. It was a very small party as we got hitched here in Gibraltar, and I have to say as much as I love weddings, I am not a big wedding person myself. Our table was right by the window, with flowers and little candles, and our party was made to feel very special. Our every need was taken care of. Parties occur at Cafe Rojo a lot. Birthdays, weddings, leaving parties, Christmas parties you name it, it has been held here. The restaurant can be booked exclusively for parties of forty people or more. But if you just fancy a night out with the girls / family / work friends simply phone ahead and Cafe Rojo will do their best to accommodate you!
I can’t speak highly enough of this establishment. The food, the service, it is my fail safe go to place. If people email me ask where to eat this is always my first choice. Make sure you check it out!
54 Irish Town
Telephone: 00 350 200 51738
Monday – Friday: 1000 – 2200
Lunch and dinner are served between 1200 – 1500 and 1900 – 2200 respectively. Coffee, cake and other treats are available within the interim hours.
Saturday: 1900 – 2200
(Cafe Rojo is also closed on Bank Holidays)
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