So stylish. So trendy. These were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my mind when stepping into Cau; their aim is to create exciting and flavour packed dishes resembling the colourful palette of Argentina. Unlike some pricey restaurants Cau is not intimidatingly posh, as soon as you step in the door you are greeted by friendly staff who take you through a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere to your table.
We began with cocktails, opting for a Cau Girl Martini and a The Grass is Greener; the Cau Girl Martini was the perfect sweet and tart blend of Stoli Vodka, passion fruit purée, apple juice, vanilla sugar and sparkling rosé. The Grass is Greener was an adventurous concoction of Hendrick’s Gin, Midori, apple and citrus juice all shaken up with egg whites; making a crisp, fresh palette cleansing aperitif.
I’ll tell you now the menu in Cau is delectable; so many tantalising options to chose from which made it difficult to keep to just two starters. To get a broad range of flavours we chose the shrimp chicharron and croquettes; where you can pick three different flavours of croquette – smoked haddock – porcini mushroom and black truffle – ham hock and manchego and to honour Burns nights a haggis number.
We went for smoked haddock; the smokey fish and potato croquette worked harmoniously with the paprika mayo. The ham hock and manchego was a perfect balance between the creamy, nuttiness of the manchego and the saltiness of the ham hock. And finally but by no means least, a rich, dense meaty haggis morsel that screamed quality with every bite.
The shrimp chicharron was a colourful plate of crispy fried shrimp, ají amarillo sauce, red jalapeño, spring onion and coriander cress. The batter encasing the prawns was light and crisp and wonderfully soaked up the mouth watering ají amarillo sauce; creamy and with hints of mango, this brilliantly balanced the fiery fresh chilli, making this my favourite.
Now for the main event, Cau promises to capture the soul and flavour of authentic Argentinian cuisine and we had heard great things about their steak so we opted for 320 grams of pure unadulterated rib-eye and rump steak. We chose skinny sweet potato fries and three different sauces; peppercorn, blue cheese hollandaise and classic chimichurri to accompany this feast and although worried this may not be enough, their selection of sides are heavenly, we need not have fretted because the steaks were of epic proportions.
The rib-eye was tender and perfectly cooked; requested to be cooked rare our attentive server recommended medium rare as their rib-eye steaks can have between 11-14% fat marbled through the meat and cooking them for that little bit longer melts the fat into delicious flavour.
The rump was a beautiful hunk of meat that wobbled as i sawed through the thick, tender flesh and burst with meaty flavour with every mouthful.
The sauces come in little pots, ideal for dipping, and it was the blue cheese hollandaise that stole my heart; rich, glossy sauce that was not overpowered with blue cheese made a superb creamy accompaniment to the steaks. The peppercorn sauce was thinner than i would have preferred but packed with buttery, peppery flavour. The chimichurri salsa was tasty, spicy and fragrant but there was too much oil sitting on top.
We chose a bottle of Doña Paula cabernet sauvignon to sip alongside this magnificent banquet; cassis, cool mint and eucalyptus combined with ripe and juicy fruits made this a complimentary and enjoyable wine alongside the flavours of the meat.
Happily defeated by the steaks we passed on dessert but with options such as dulche de leche pancakes, churros and Argentinian ice cream i will definitely be back with an appetite big enough to conquer all. Cau is a fantastic place to indulge and treat yourself to some scrumptious food and delicious wine in a beautiful setting however they also do a brunch menu, which caught my eye as we left, so there is a happy excuse to visit all times in the day. I promise you won’t be disappointed so book a table, throw on your glad rags, better if they have an elastic waist, and treat yourself to simple yet exquisite food.