Cambridge-based writer, thinker, psychologist and wandering minstrel
Published April 12th 2013
The grass is definitely greener at this new steak restaurant
Not to be confused with 'The Cow' just down the road, CAU is all about 'Carne Argentina Unica': the uniqueness of Argentinian beef. The meat from Argentinian cattle is supposedly some of the best in the world, with the cows allowed to roam free over the pampas, a vast area of fertile grassland in the East of the country. So someone thought it would be a good idea to open a restaurant specialising in this national delicacy, and they opened one in Guildford, and now a second in Cambridge.
CAU Cambridge only opened at the end of January 2013, and there has been a veritable stampede to get a table (I'm tempted to fill this review with cow references, but I probably shouldn't milk it). Consequently, securing a booking here, especially on weekends, is currently (April 2013) something of a challenge. I booked online through the website three days in advance.
The design is a kind of chic 1960s mix of smooth silver lampshades, American diner-style booths, and thematic cream-coloured furniture, grass patterns and walls of blue sky with scattered clouds. It works pretty well, though I was bemused to discover I was about to eat dinner seated on a swivel chair – anyone with kids, take note.
The food was excellent. The menu, obviously, is primarily steaks, but also offers chicken dishes, fish, salads, burgers and a variety of sausages (see the menu here). We had medallions of 'lomito', which in Argentina is considered the finest cut of meat, and though I lack the gourmet reviewer's lexicon to express exactly what was so good about it the words 'flavoursome', 'tender' and 'juicy' come to mind. It was served with some very tasty chips and a nice pot of sauce: both the blue cheese and aioli were great compliments to the meal.
Dessert continued the trend: the traditional Argentinian dulce de leche pancakes were quite rich but delicious, and the churros had a sugary cinnamon sweetness that was offset well by the slightly bitter dark chocolate sauce. CAU isn't cheap but also not particularly expensive, and generally I felt that the quality of the food represented good value for the price.
Service, by the hardworking 'cauboys' and 'caugirls', was efficient and friendly. They even wiped down the table between courses (perhaps we were just messy eaters…) and helped make our visit into a truly enjoyable evening. If you're still unsure, let me spell it out for you in black and white: CAU is a great place for a meal out, and should definitely be on the list of any Cambridge-based steak fans.