Restaurants: Cau

Martin Booth, September 22, 2014

If you’ve ever wondered what dining in a spaceship feels like, now’s your chance to experience everything but the zero-gravity at Bristol’s newest steak restaurant, Cau on the Clifton Triangle.

Cau is not a misspelling of the animal; it actually stands for carne Argentina unica, with Argentine meat predominant on the menu in a small restaurant chain founded in Guildford in 2011.

There is white chrome everywhere with almost as much metal, grass designs on the ceiling for that upside-down-in-space feel and ‘windows’ looking out onto a sky that’s always blue.

Some lights look like stones balanced one above the other, while the lights above the bar may want to look like little fluffy clouds but end up looking more like giant white glowing cow pats.

Most of the decor may be out of this world, but the steaks are not – and they also come with prices that could also be spent on building your own space rocket.

My lomito medallions were precisely cooked with plenty of their own juices on the plate, accompanied by a well-balanced Argentinian Malbec.

But that was it, just two strips of meat the size of a small packet of Crayola crayons for £14.25.

Chips and vegetables come as extras, as do the sauces – and my blue cheese sauce came with a none-too appetising skin.

Compare this to the pre-7pm deal at The OxThe Ox, incidentally soon to be taking over what is now Copper Jacks almost opposite their Corn Street restaurant that is setting the standard for steak in Bristol – where between 5pm and 7pm Tuesday to Saturday a 6oz rump steak, fries, sauce and a glass of house wine is only £12.50.

Cau’s Bristol location on Queen’s Road may be prime Bristol University territory, but even the more well-heeled students will need deep pockets to afford the likes of a 500g tira de ancho, a spiral cut of rib-eye, for £33.50, or asado de chorizo, a 500g sirloin steak, for £34.95.

For pudding, a chocolate brownie with toasted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream was a delight, however, as was the warm and attentive service, especially shown to my three-year-old daughter who was presented with an iPod pre-loaded with children’s games as soon as we walked in.

She enjoyed her mini burger, but her mum thought that her aubergine lasagne (£8.95) was under-seasoned and not a patch on that served at Chai Shai on Jacob’s Wells Road.

Popping in for breakfast the following morning, I enjoyed the miniature milk churn from which to pour the maple syrup onto my pancakes.

But the bacon was chewy rather than crispy and the coffee was disappointingly bland in this new restaurant that aims for the stars but has so far failed to achieve lift-off.

Cau, 74 Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1QU

0117 925 4162

www.caurestaurants.com

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