Last week I was lucky enough to go to a blogger event at the recently opened Cattle Grid restaurant in Leeds. My colleague had been here where it opened and I heard they had wagyu beef on the menu…how could I resist?
Steve Novak, one of the restaurant partners gave us a talk on the idea for the brand and about the food itself. Cattle Grid is aiming to hit the restaurant middle-market – a chain of restaurants where people go and eat good steak on regular basis: in his words “The Pizza Express of steakhouses”. With this in mind, you can buy a fillet steak and chips for under £20 – this does mean you probably won’t get locally sourced meat (some of the steaks at the Leeds restaurant are currently locally sourced) and they buy vacuum packed in bulk. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s wet ageing the meat. One thing that is local is the bread which is made at Anthony’s, which is pretty much right next door!
I was sitting with Katie from Leeds Grub, Ellie from The Magic Square Foundation and Leanne who I had followed on twitter thinking she was someone else! They don’t have starters on the menu but Steve had recommended the ribs so we ordered ½ rack of normal ribs and ½ peri peri. Seriously, if there’s one thing you need to do, it’s order the ribs here! I’m somewhat of a rib connoisseur – my infamous slow cooked ribs fall off the bone, but Cattle Grid’s ribs are an extremely viable competitor and if any of my friends find out about them, I think my rib crown will be taken away. The baby back ribs were so tender and the sauce was amazing, I think it had honey in it and a good kick of spice – and that was just the normal ones! The peri peri one’s had more of a kick and some of the ladies weren’t so keen on them, but if you love spice as much as I do then they are definitely for you.
For my main I ordered fillet steak done medium with peppercorn sauce. Steve also recommended that we ordered onion strings – their version of onion rings. Due to one of the fryers having issues our onion strings were a little delayed getting to the table so we didn’t eat much of them – but oh my god. They are just AMAZING. So amazing that I took the leftovers him a box and had them the next day. Basically the onions are coated in a tempura-like batter and don’t feel greasy like other onion rings. You really must order these when you visit – one bowl is enough for two!
So to the steak – it was very good. The signs of a well hung steak were all there: the flavour was excellent and the texture had just the amount of chew and softness, despite my previous reservations about vacuum packing and bulk buying. The steak my mum buys from Howells of Wells-Next-The-Sea still tops it though. Mine was cooked perfectly and sauce was pretty good too – I do think peppercorn sauce really adds to the flavour of the steak.
For pudding I had a brownie although it was a little too crunchy and a little less squidgy than I prefer. I’m not sure the pudding list here is anything to write home about but fortunately the decent main meal portions and choice should be enough to make you return visit here.
Would I recommend it to people? Yes definitely, if you’re looking for a a decent steak in town then you’ve come to the right place, but what really makes the place different from other steakhouses are the ribs and the side dishes which come with your steak.