[Didsbury, Manchester] Cau

Cau is a relatively new mini-chain – an off-shoot of Gaucho, the London based mini-chain of steakhouses. It’s menu is more varied and the offerings are priced much more competitively – it’s a different beast and not really Gaucho-lite. Manchester was where Gaucho opened its first place outside of London, so it’s perhaps no surprise that we have a mini-herd of Caus in the area.

To start, there was an Argentinian flatbread (or pizza base, as most of us would think of it), topped with Un-South- American aubergine and mozzarella. And two empanadas – you get a choice of two from the four on offer – one spicy beef and onion (which was well flavoured) and one creamed corn and Taleggio (which tasted of not very much). In both cases, a little bit longer in the oven would have worked wonders for the pastry.

We both ordered the same main course – tapa de cuadril. Very thin slices of rump, flash fried. It’s decent meat and, even though it’s almost wafer thin, the kitchen manages not to overcook it. It comes with either thin chips (which were thinner than proper chips but not French fries) or chunky chips (which were definitely chunky). One of us took a salad as an extra while the other one took roasted mushrooms with garlic and aji molida, the Argentian red pepper which lent a little hint of heat to the mushrooms. Frankly the mushrooms were the best thing I ate all evening.

Only one of us wanted dessert – a berry cheesecake which was OK, in the way that desserts in chains are OK.

I wouldn’t be saying I’d never darken their doors again but I’m in no rush to return. If I was in need of good steak, I’d rather go into the city and pay double at Gaucho or Hawksmoor.

One has opened not too far from our house, John. Maybe one of these days we’ll give it a go.

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― Jonathan Gold