Review: CAU Bath
Bath prides itself on fine eating venues and, in particular, exquisitely cooked steak. Since opening its doors, CAU Bath has been striving to set even higher standards in culinary excellence. CAU kindly invited Total Bath along to pass verdict, here's how we got on.
Nestled in Milsom Place, the CAU Bath restaurant is open plan and inviting, with sleek and consistent interior design reminiscent somewhat of an upmarket American diner.
We were greeted warmly by our host for the evening, George, who was quick to answer any questions we had about the restaurant itself, its origins and its emergence onto the Bath culinary scene.
Taking to a comfortable, secluded booth we began to feast our eyes on the generously wide ranging yet carefully curated menu, before placing an order for drinks.
Cau Gin & Tonic and a passionfruit Caipirinha - the national drink of Brasil. The former marrying Portobello Road gin with Tonic, pink grapefruit and juniper berries, while the Caipirinha carried a naturally sugary flavour, offset nicely with the sharp burst of the passionfruit and topped with a segment of the juicy fruit itself.
The drinks arrived, soon followed by our chosen starters - Porcini mushroom & truffle croquettes, and salt and pepper squid.
Each arrived promptly exhibiting an enticing golden crisp finish.
Light and fluffy, the croquettes were the perfect appetizer, pleasing the palate and prepping nicely for the main meal to come. The porcini mushrooms blend nicely with the truffle butter to create a mellow flavour, and the small plateful worked effectively with sips of zesty gin and tonic.
The salt and pepper squid formed a small, crispy mound, surrounded by a tangy chipotle mayo which provided, as the menu proudly proclaims, a little Latin kick.
Some steakhouses can perhaps be said to overlook their sea food in favour of their red meat speciality dishes, but this thankfully isn't the case with CAU.
The squid, succulent and spongy in texture, offered a pleasant contrast to its crunchy outer casing. Though small, the indiviudal bites had a distinct sharpness, provided by the peppery flour in which they are rolled, and were finished off professionally with carefully sliced slithers of spring onion and refreshing red pepper.
Turning our attention to the main menu, we were soon confronted by a endless array of sumptious meaty offerings.
After much deliberation, our two dishes of choice were decided. First up, Grilled medalions served with triple cooked chunky chips, side salad and an accompanying blue cheese sauce.
The second main consisted of one of CAU's premier cuts, a 400g lomito - the fillet of rump considered by the Argentinians to be the finest cut of steak available - served with sweet potatoes and likewise equipped with a supplementary pot of blue cheese sauce.
Both dishes came beautifully presented, with the respective cuts of meat taking centre stage on their own white plates. A minimalist yet classic aesthetic.
Firstly addressing the potato accompaniments, it was clear to see plenty of time had been invested in the creation of both the triple cooked chunky chips and the sweet potato.
Served in a neat cluster, the chunky chips were portioned out nicely so as not to over-face the diner, but were plentiful enough to provide a crunchy complement to the sizzling steak.
Likewise, the sweet potato, served artistically on a side slate, worked well in tandem with the lomito fillet and freshened the dish up by offering a smooth, buttery texture, verging on mashed potato such was the delicacy of the cooking process.
The skin of the sweet potato was ever so slightly oven charred, creating a luscious crinkling effect which neatly complemented the soft centre of the potatoes themselves.
Eager to dive into the meat and experience the very products of which CAU pride themselves upon, we began with the grilled medallions.
The steak, rich in flavour, identifies itself immediately with the palate. Prior to visiting the restaurant, we had been informed that the chefs at CAU take to each individual cut of meat with utmost scrutiny, ensuring all attention to detail is maintained.
We were pleased to be able to confirm that this indeed was the case. The medallions were grilled to perfection, tender and flavoursome and evidence of a meticulous crafting process - as opposed to cooking en masse.
For maximum flavour, generously douse the medallions in the blue cheese sauce. CAU's sauce comes lightly seasoned with a slight salty pinch, and the cheese holds a nice consistency, not too runny, nor too thick, coating the steak in a tasteful, cheesy hold.
The lomito, ordered rare, gives the medallions a run for their money when it comes to visual appeal.
The preparation process of the sizable, speciality cut is clearly second nature to the chefs of CAU, who had allowed the meat to rest to perfection before serving.
The restaurant boast a combinative description of 'the flavour of rump and the tenderness of fillet' when it comes to the lomito, and they are true to their word.
Steak lovers may want to try this number cooked rare, as the soft, fleshy texture holds the richness of the meat while providing the palate with a juicy after taste at every bite.
As with the medallions, the assistance of CAU's blue cheese sauce is more than welcome and its herb infused undertone collaborates with the lomito to provide a distinctive, memorable taste.
An evening at CAU Bath certainly ticks many, if not all boxes. The wide ranging menu caters for all tastes and their steak expertise truly is of the highest standing.
We were thoroughly impressed by both astute, attentive service and impeccable culinary standards. The hype, it seems, is well and truly warranted. A return is imminent.
CAU Bath's menu can be viewed in full, here.