Cau

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.

20180129_215743

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_051

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_050

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.

20180129_215334

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_058

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_056

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_070

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.

IMG_20180129_215017_054

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.

 

 

download

Topa La Bamba

Happy New Year! 2018 is going to be all about trying new things; recipes, restaurants, cuisines and exploring more of the world. I took a hiatus from writing over the festive period but began my foodie adventure at one of Edinburgh’s most fun and adored Mexican joints; Topa La Bamba is a colourful and quirky restaurant that serves fresh, mouth watering tapas style dishes with larger options such as the classic burrito or heavenly chipolte honey ribs. Their classic margarita is too easily drunk and with watermelon and apple flavours there is something for everyone.

We ordered a collection of smaller dishes to get a little taste of everything; crispy fried fish of the day tacos, crab ceviche tostadas, homemade chorizo taquitos and jalapeno poppers. Oh.My.Days. The jalapeno poppers were thick n chunky; coated in a crunchy fried breadcrumb cacoon they burst with thick creamy molito cheese and made you go ooh. Topa know what they are doing by only serving two per dish, the saying ‘always leave them wanting more’ certainly works in their favour here.

IMG_20180120_221159_195

The crab ceviche tostadas boasted generous mounds of cold, refreshing crab and salad sat upon a crispy tortilla pancake topped with crema, which is a creamy, slightly sour Mexican condiment that is somewhere between sour cream and crème fraîche. Delicious, decadent and the combinations of textures made each mouthful exciting and a challenge to devour.

IMG_20180120_221159_196

The crispy fried fish tacos were tasty and gloriously messy to eat; light, golden goujons of meaty fish nestled in slaw, wrapped in a soft tortilla and topped with crema with generous wedges of lemon on the side to cut through the batter of the fish. My first time trying fish tacos and thanks to the chefs at Topa i will not be looking back. No way Jose.

IMG_20180120_221159_200

Topa’s homemade chorizo taquitos were the thing dreams are made of; rich, smokey, spicy sausage encased in a crisp shell topped with, yes you guessed it, crema. Perfect for picking up and nibbling on or, as i decided, dunking into the creamy molito cheese from the jalapeno poppers. Absolutely scrumptious.

IMG_20180120_221159_193

Comfortably full but 100% greedy and hankering for more tasty delights from the Topa team we ordered a classic Mexican dessert; piping hot churros with a rich and glossy dark chocolate sauce. Fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside these golden fingers of dough were the perfect sweet end to an exquisite feast of classic favourites to new experiences and flavours.

IMG_20180120_221159_226

We left happy and full; feelings not hard to conjure up in this warm and inviting space where the staff are friendly and happy to chat while you, maybe ever so slightly, dramatically agonise over what to chose. When there are too many delectable dishes i can sometimes get flustered and feel the need to try everything now and forget that i can come back another time to try more! If you are looking for great food, a relaxed setting and the perfect amount of mood lighting to make anyone look good then look no further than Topa La Bamba. Thank you guys, in Arnie’s words (and voice), i’ll be back.

 

 

download