CAU Leeds, Brunch – Restaurant Review
CAU Leeds, Brunch
by Kerryn Duckworth
Over the last few years I’ve witnessed a surge in popularity of ‘brunch’ eateries opening up in and around Leeds. Not quite breakfast, not quite lunch; brunch is a must for the person who can’t quite get up early enough to go out for breakfast but is too hungry to wait for lunch. I am that person.
I’m intrigued as to what CAU Leeds has to offer. Known to most as a steak restaurant from the brains behind high-end steak restaurants Gaucho, it’s not the obvious brunch option. But I’m definitely willing to give it a try. Set in the stunning new Victoria Gate location, CAU opened late 2016. The Argentinian eatery now serves brunch every day between 9-12, and promises the vibrancy of Buenos Aires any time of the day.
Tom, our server, welcomes us in immediately with a friendly and warm approach and escorts us to our table. We’re sitting on a balcony table overlooking the entrance to John Lewis. For those with inquisitive minds (nosy) this is a great people-watching spot.
“Classy approach to an American-style pancake”
CAU promises to honour its inspiration from Bueno Aires with comfort food inspired by Italy, Spain and Argentina and you can see the muse in the menu and the cocktails. The brunch menu itself offers only seven dishes. However, these dishes can be tailored with toppings allowing the diner to choose the perfect eat for their mood, whether savoury or sweet.
Despite the simplistic menu, I’m stuck for choice. There are several items on the menu that I could devour in a second. I ask for advice from Tom who, when I ask for assistance in choosing between two dishes, answers: “Have both!” So we do!
My friend and I select the Chorizo Sausage, Caramelised Onion and Mozzarella Flatbread (£6.95), the Sweet Potato Pancakes with Grilled Pork Belly, Fried Egg and Maple Syrup (£8.95) and the CAU Benedict (£7.25).
The flatbread itself is crispy and smothered with all the toppings in equal measures. Whilst it isn’t a large portion, the strong flavours of the chorizo and caramelised onions pack a punch. It doesn’t look like a large portion of flatbread, but it most certainly hits the mark.
As promised, the Sweet Potato Pancakes are fluffy, spongy and light. A slightly healthier alternative to the usual pancake, perhaps, but then I’m sure the pork belly and maple syrup cancel this out. The fried egg on top oozes out over the pancakes and mixes with the pork belly. It’s a classy approach to an American-style bacon and pancakes.
“A calm and cool ambience”
What intrigues me most is the CAU Benedict; the stand out dish on the menu. On top of two breakfast muffins lies a generous portion of Yerba smoked beef. Yerba being a type of tea and the beef smoked in the restaurant. On top of the beef lay two perfectly formed poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Not just any hollandaise – blue cheese hollandaise. And what can be better than beef and blue cheese! Thankfully, the hollandaise is not overpowering and the whole dish is the stand out on the menu.
Despite ordering plenty of food, we can’t resist a portion of Chilli Roasted Mushrooms (75p each). These are plump and juicy and one serving can easily be shared. A perfect side for the main plates.
All this washes down with a ‘Mimosa’ cocktail (£6) for my friend and a non-alcoholic CAU Cooler (£2.95) for myself. This is fruity and refreshing, filled with tangy flavours of raspberries, apples, passion fruit and grapes.
For those who want something a little different in their brunch offerings, this is the place. Sophisticated and relaxing in equal measures with tasty food and attentive service. The modern and stylish décor creates a calm and cool ambience where you can waste away hours over brunch, lunch or dinner.
As CAU says about Buenos Aires: The vibrancy, the cosmopolitan sophistication and the irresistible chaotic energy is infectious. I concur – and leave CAU wanting to return.
CAU Leeds, Victoria Gate, 1 Eastgate, Leeds, L2 4SW
Brunch serves daily, 9am-midday