We were recently invited along to a masterclass and meal at Argentinian inspired restaurant, CAU Tunbridge Wells…
Located opposite the Opera House in the centre of town, CAU opened its doors in Tunbridge Wells two years ago. It is a sister operation of the renowned and prestigious Gaucho Group and is pronounced ‘cow’ which stands for Carne Argentina Única and translates as unique Argentinian beef – their speciality!
After leaving the children in the safe hands of their grandparents, we were welcomed into CAU and offered a drink ahead of the masterclass. The restaurant is set across two floors with an open-plan style kitchen at the back of the ground floor and a fresh, modern feel to it.
Pictures of the blue skies of Buenos Aires and the grass which the Aberdeen Angus cattle are fed on are dotted around the restaurant. White polished corrugated iron adorns the walls too, adding to the ‘Argentian outback’ feel to the place. White leather booths give the restaurant a fresh and sleek look too.
We were intrigued to find out what would happen during the masterclass and after taking our seats surrounding a table consisting of some very juicy looking cuts of beef, we met one of CAU’s top chefs, who gave us a first class education in the different types of steaks, the background to where CAU’s meat comes from, the best practices in cooking steak and the best accompaniments.
CAU sources its beef from the pampas in Argentina where the cows roam freely while grazing on 17 varieties of grass. This results in some of the best, most flavoursome beef in the world. CAU’s beef is ‘wet aged’ which is a process that brings out the subtle flavour of the meat and which means any steaks at CAU promise to be tender, low in fat (yay!) and richly flavoured.
Much to our delight, we were presented with a taster of each cut of meat after the Chef had explained what part of the cow each cut had come from and talked us through the differences from one piece to the next. The masterclass finished up with an empanada making demonstration and we got to try out our own empanada making skills!
After the masterclass, we were led upstairs to a table for two. For starters, I opted for the salt and pepper squid which was topped with chilli and spring onion with a side of chipotle mayonnaise. Dave had the belly of pork tempura both of which were cooked to perfection and bursting with flavour.
For the main course, I chose the Lomito. The fillet of rump is considered the finest cut in Argentina, combining the flavour of rump and the tenderness of fillet. Served with a blue cheese sauce and skinny fries, this was a more-than-generous portion of mouth watering meat which put simply, was the tastiest steak I have ever had! Dave went for the ribeye and judging by his empty plate, I can safely say that he enjoyed it.
I wasn’t going to go for pudding. I really wasn’t! However our very friendly and knowledgable waitress highly recommended the chocolate fondant, so I couldn’t resist!
The dessert didn’t disappoint and Dave powered through his chocolate brownie (with marshmallows and vanilla ice-cream) too. This was the perfect ending to an amazing (and childfree) evening.
We left CAU Tunbridge Wells feeling relaxed, contented and incredibly happy to have found a new firm favourite on the Tunbridge Wells restaurant scene.