Last week, I made a trip to Guildford to visit CAU. You may think that this Argentinian restaurant, which is run by the Gaucho Group, is too far for a Chelsea Girl to travel to. But there are a few reasons why I wanted to jump on a train to Surrey to try this place out.
The Gaucho Group are not only behind a local Chelsea fave, Gaucho on Sloane Avenue, but they are also responsible for one of my local favourite bars at the moment: Galante. And on the night of our visit to CAU, Gaucho’s Bar Director Lance Perkins was also due to give us a cocktail-making demonstration. I’d met Lance a couple of times at Galante and his storytelling skills as well as his vast knowledge of cocktails was too good to miss out on.
The other reason why Guildford isn’t so out of the way is because I like to spend time in Hampshire (along the Surrey border), especially in the spring and summer. So Guildford as well as Farnham are not too far away when considering somewhere to eat.
True, most times we end up in country pubs but with restaurants, it’s quite a struggle to find something decent. For instance on Saturday night, we tried a new place in Odiham which was quite a fail. Massive, in fact.
And needless to say, if Guildford is good enough for Denim Queen Donna Ida who also has boutiques in Chelsea and Belgravia. Well, … 😉
So back to CAU!
The night began with Lance Perkins’ cocktail-making demonstration. The cocktails were the wine-based drinks called Clericots and we were taken through the making of the Salta and Mendoza.
The Salta consisted of Torrontes white wine which was mixed with red and white grapes, along with carefully measured passion fruit purée and basil leaves.
This drink was very refreshing and tasty too. The flavours were light and fruity and I could easily see how a jug would be an ideal way to serve this drink: perfect for a summer’s day!
The Mendoza involved Malbec rosé with slices of orange, lime and pink grapefruit as well as strawberries. I only had a sip of this drink, to try it out of curiosity and its flavours were much deeper. I could see myself taking my time with the Mendoza if I had a full glass, because there was plenty to savour.
For starters, we ordered an array of dishes so we could pick and taste each one. They included:
Salmon and Haddock Fishcakes.
Steamed mussels served in a creamy coconut and coriander sauce.
Yerba Smoked Beef.
This starter dish involved thin slices of Lomito smoked in tea with orange, lemon thyme and garlic. The dish was dressed with soy and wasabi and served with a watercress salad. Yum!
Salmon seared in sesame and fennel.
Belly of Pork coated in light tempura.
The pork was succulent and the tempura was crispy. And part of me is still slightly envious that this dish lives in Guildford.
For main, I ordered the 16 oz Lomito steak. To be frank, there were quite a few steaks to choose from and I felt slightly spoilt for choice. I didn’t know which to pick and eventually I decided to opt for the Lomito because – well, you know how it is – if you hear more than a couple of people ordering the same choice a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) takes over.
And I didn’t regret my choice!
As for sides, our dishes included Courgette and Onion Tempura.
Others ordered the Corn on the Cob and Tripled-Cooked Chunky Chips too.
For dessert, I had the Dulce de Leche pancakes which I polished off entirely. Caramel sauce lined the insides of the rolled-up pancakes whilst the vanilla ice cream was a refreshing compliment to the dessert.
Others had Mascarpone and Raspberry Cheesecake.
And Dulce de Leche ice cream.
This ice cream was really good!
As for the restaurant itself , it is spacious and lively. The ceilings are very high and there are a couple of floors. The upper level has a more intimate feel to it. The staff are friendly and the menu includes burgers, veggie options as well as the wide range of steaks you would expect in a good Argentinian restaurant.
Cau is a great stepping stone between London and Hampshire and I can see the locals also loving it.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed myself my night!