Let them eat steak

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The Cowshed have the British classic nailed, writes Sammy Milton

Steak. Something that most of us love and many of us consider a proper British treat on an evening out. For the avid meat-eaters out there, nothing quite measures up to seeing a huge hunk of perfectly-cooked meat being brought to you on a plate (or, in these more recent times, a slab, but let’s gloss over that). Something about the smell, appearance and taste brings out the carnal instinct within you, and keeps you coming back for more. This is something the Cowshed has perfected. 

Located on the buzzy Whiteladies Road in the same building as the iconic picture house, the interior of this restaurant is most aesthetically pleasing. With wooden flooring throughout, there’s a gorgeous bar downstairs and huge drapes on the windows, giving off a luxurious, elegant air. Happy couples chatter at nearby tables, and the restaurant separates into two levels; a downstairs that also houses the handsome open kitchen and an upstairs open-plan dining room where we happily settle in. 

The service here is impeccable. Everyone is bright, chatty and fun, and the atmosphere is one of liveliness and contentment. We eye the menu eagerly, and are not disappointed. Cowshed may specialise in steak, but they have a very good menu, featuring a range of vegetable, fish and meat options. 

We decide to opt for a mix to start — grilled sardines with olive tapenade served with crostini and accompanied by a tomato salsa for my partner (£9.50), and a free-range chicken ballantine with apricot relish and a watercress salad for myself (£7.95). The sardines were perfectly cooked, positively oozing the glorious fishy oils they are blessed with and mixing beautifully with the tart olive tapenade. On crisp bread it is the perfect treat, and the tomato salsa gives the dish a welcome kick. The chicken was excellent. Pleasantly chilled, the sweetness of the apricot relish happily cut through, whilst the peppery watercress salad was fresh and vibrant. 

Onto the mains. My partner went for the BBQ buttermilk half chicken (£17.50), a glorious ensemble with bubble and squeak, spring onions and bacon gravy. This was a hearty spring dish — the chicken was expertly cooked and the bubble and squeak was oh so comforting, working incredibly well with the rich bacon gravy. The plate was happily cleared. I went for a steak (well, it would seem rude not to). Plumping for a rare rib-eye with chips and roasted bone marrow sauce (£24.70), I was absolutely delighted with my choice. The steak arrived quickly and cooked just how I like it. It was rare without being graphic, and so tender that the knife slid through it like butter. The chips were flawless and the bone marrow sauce was a decadent dream. 

For dessert we went with the millefeuille, a cloudlike bowl of layers of cream with vanilla and crisp almonds, and the salted caramel roulade with brown butter ice cream (both £6.50).

Both were outstanding. The millefeuille was so light yet full of flavour, and the roulade was so good that I can’t stand to talk about it because it will make me sad that I’m no longer eating it. 

An excellent meal all round. The Cowshed have something special going on, and clearly know their stuff. Come along soon to see for yourself. 

The Cowshed

44-46 Whiteladies Road

Clifton

Bristol

BS8 2NH

0117 973 3550

www.cowshedrestaurants.com

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