CAU is an Argentinian Steak Restaurant that has a number of restaurants throughout the UK, arguably in some of the nicer locations.
The CAU in Harrogate opened in 2016, as part of the development of a new cinema complex. It took a a prominent corner position, next to Veeno, an Italian Café. The opening of the food outlets gave a shift for the town, giving greater options in that area. Over the years the town has seen many shifts, such as the focus of late night venues from John Street to the Ginnel. If you are old enough you may remember the West Park Run, starting at West Park and finishing (if you made it) at Jimmy’s. The bars and restaurants around the Everyman have been designed to be a one-stop shop for your night.
Being welcomed at the door, the table wasn’t ready just yet, so we opted for a drink in the bar area. A CAU Girl Martini and a Hop House 13, made with Patagonian hops, were very appropriate and filled the few minutes before the table came available.
But getting back to CAU, we visited on a busy Saturday evening – busy many every table taken. The décor is relaxed and casual with a nod to cows or is that Cau’s with grassy wallpaper and cloud lamp shades. The atmosphere is relaxed, with a nice mix of couples and family groups with children.
The service to the table was very knowledgeable, asking what type of steaks we liked. We chose two, possibly at opposite spectrums of the rainbow of steaks available.
The beef is imported from Argentinia and we chose a Tira Da Ancho and a Lomito. That’s a spiral cut rib eye and the eye, or best bit, of a fillet. Apparently the rib eye is spiral cut as on-the-bone rib eye’s don’t travel well. One steak is known for flavour and the other leanness and tenderness, that was just as we wanted.
Although CAU is all about the meat, there are vegetarian options and we managed crispy fried prawns and filled croquettes for starters. The prawns were in a light batter and light sauce, with jalapeño and coriander cress giving a spicey hit. The croquettes came in three varieties and are considered a Spanish classic.
The main courses arrived and they were undeniably impressive. You can choose how big a steak you would like, but even ‘small’ or small in the fillet was 400g or 14oz in old sizes.
Sides were all good, large chips being large and crispy, rather than wedges. The 500g rib was maybe a little intimidating, only just fitting on the plate – but it soon disappeared. Steaks are cooked partly on a grill and partly in a charcoal oven – that showed in the flavours and and the cooking. The charcoal oven also allows any fat on the steak to render down for more flavour.
The large, 21oz steaks, the Chef’s Specials, are around £40 plus sides, but that’s for a huge steak, that am not sure many can tackle. Looking at the more average sized steaks of around 8oz, then they are just over £20 with a couple of side dishes.
The Churros for desert with a dulce de leche were delicious, but could have been cooked just a little more for crisper flavour, but that is nitpicking really and it concluded a very nice evening.
If you like your beef then then CAU should be on your very short-list of restaurants to visit in Harrogate.