CAU Leeds – Restaurant Review
by Robert Siddle
Set within the spectacular new Victoria Gate shopping complex, formally known as the Eastgate Complex in Leeds, CAU Restaurant sits amongst premium retail outlets, John Lewis’s new flag ship store and glamorous interiors and architecture. CAU offers irresistible Argentinian dishes that you just might not want to miss.
Entering through a shop front-like entrance, you are greeted with a small café style bar with a hint of Italy. It’s a great spot for welcome drinks and offers a handful of bistro-style tables for a light lunch. A nice addition to the multi-purpose venue.
Moving upstairs to our table, a larger restaurant takes up the second floor. It offers high-gloss modern styling, simple in its black and white colours, but with sophistication. Could this be a tasty addition to the Leeds food scene?
We are greeted with smiles from the front door to our seats. Our waitress, Jade, offers exceptional service throughout our visit. She possesses a terrific understanding of the menu and some top tips on what to order. Our pallets are already drooling.
“Despite its simplicity, an extremely tasty meal”
We sample an Argentinian lager (Quilmes, 4.9%, 340ml, £3.95) with our starters of Yerba-Smoked Beef (£5.95) and Chorizo and Red Pepper Anticuchos Skewers (£6.50). The wonderful and authentic flavors of the local Argentinian dishes really whet the appetite for more.
Moving quickly on to our main course, there is a wide range of burgers, salads and, most importantly, steaks to sample. Continuing with the theme of the evening, we settle for something with Argentinian twists. Selecting specialty steak cuts, we opt for Tira De Ancho (500g £34.95), ‘The king of steaks: A spiral cut of rib-eye, marinated in chimichurri and grilled slowly for maximum tenderness’. Plus, an Asado De Chorizo (400g £29.95), a sirloin steak in a churrasco marinade of smoked paprika, ají molido, garlic and parsley.
It arrives perfectly cooked to request, sided with thin fries and an optional Smoked Garlic Aioli (£1.25). Indeed, the aioli is to die for. We are treated to an extremely tasty meal, despite its simplicity. In fact, it is one of the best new restaurant experiences I have tried in a while.
“We actually end up ordering three puddings”
Taking our waitress’s recommendations, dinner is accompanied by a bottle of rich and tangy white, Amelie Blanc (£26.95). It is sparky and full of flavor – the perfect accompaniment to our meal.
There is plenty of intrigue for what the dessert menu has to offer. Somewhat spoiled for choice, and hiding a bit of a sweet tooth, we actually end up ordering three puddings. All are presented to the very high standards the meal has already set. They arrive accompanying our choice of coffee (£2.50). We try the Dulce De Leche Pancakes (£5.75). These are fresh pancakes with ice cream topping and traditional Argentinian caramel sauce. Then there’s Chocolate Brownie (£5.95) served with toasted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream. ‘Finally, we try Churros (£4.95) – doughnuts Argentinian style. Lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate sauce upon my request.
All the desserts hit the sweet spot and end a terrific all-round meal.
An excellent night in one of Leeds’s newest restaurants, with oustanding service and food. You’ll find it hard to resist a second visit.
CAU LEEDS, Victoria Gate, 1 Eastgate, LS2 7LY
Mon – Sat 09:30-23:00