CAU, Brindleyplace

We gave CAU (Carne Argentina Unica) a few months to bed in before we sampled the delights of Buenos Aires via Brindleyplace.

The décor didn’t immediately scream Argentina. It’s pretty cool with an industrial vibe, so lots of metal and matte black juxtaposed with cute cloud shaped lighting and walls adorned with grass prints – a reminder of the grass -ed beasts straight from the pampas we’re about to tuck into. We found it pleasing in a kooky sort of way. I liked the menu a lot. The trend for small plates either ordered as starters or in a tapas style is showing no sign of waning and was evident here. We both went traditional and chose a small plate followed by a large plate. I don’t like doing meat then more meat, so I munched my way through crunchy salt and pepper squid with a fiery little chipotle sauce that had a fair whack of heat and bags of black pepper. I loved it. The other half didn’t give a stuff about eating too much meat. When in Rome was his view. Belly of pork tempura was a gem of a dish. It was a bit fatty, but once you’d got your head round its calorific might it was blooming lovely served with CAUchup – do you see what they did there?

LET’S TALK CAUSLAW

A play on words is something the people behind CAU enjoy, for instance CAUslaw. We like coleslaw, but CAUslaw is in a different league altogether. We sampled it served with a perfectly cooked rib eye and it was so good it almost overshadowed the meat. There was nothing wrong with the steak – it was superb, but the CAUslaw was dreamy. Apparently the secret is condensed milk and chilli! Don’t think about it too much. Just trust us and give it a whirl although a word to the wise, one portion is more than enough for two. Thin chips were crisp and fluffy and all the other things a top drawer chip should be. I found yerba mate rump of lamb overpoweringly smoky for my taste. The highlight was a scrumptious side of coal roasted cauliflower and accompanying polenta mash. The waitress urged us to try the cornflake sundae which is apparently delicious, but the Pina CAUlada was winking at us. All the flavours of a pina colada on a plate, but so much better – roasted pineapple, rum, lime and coconut cream sorbet. It was a brilliantly zingy end to the meal. All in all we had a great time. It’s definitely more Brindleyplace than Buenos Aires and there’s nothing wrong with that.

CAU 3 Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2JB. Tel: 0121 632 6001 www.caurestaurants.com