Victoria Gate's Best Kept Secret
The new Victoria Gate Centre holds many secrets – and the best kept dining out secret is CAU.
When you enter the small downstairs bar it looks just like any other, but ascend the stairway to culinary heaven and that’s exactly where you’ll feel you are.
For upstairs awaits a unique and amazing dining experience. The marbled floors, discreet decorative lighting and the floor to ceiling windows that look out over the centre are mind blowing. The restaurant’s tables are so cleverly placed they make you feel as if you are the only ones there.
Our table looked over the centre and the night sky appeared full of twinkling lights from the centre’s ceiling. Like all CAU restaurants the signature white chairs are simply so comfy and the décor relaxing. Outside the windows there is a balcony that runs round the curved restaurant. This will be the ultimate place for dining in the warmer weather and being under cover it won’t matter if there are April showers.
The best way to start any experience at CAU is to have one of their unique and playful cocktails that have a real Latin soul. I chose Bright Blue Skies, the most popular one with vodka, Cointreau, egg white and chilled chamomile tea. It has to be seen to be believed and comes with a candy floss dipper – its really too pretty to drink.
Whilst we studied the menu we decided on Hummus & Crisp Breads with aubergine caviar, chilli and nuts from the While You Wait section. I am not usually a lover of hummus but this was tasty and the hot crispbreads of which we were offered replenishment converted me to this dish.
CAU has a reasonably priced wine menu with choices for every palate . Our bottle of Garnacha Rosado arrived well chilled and was a good choice for a fuller rose.
We chose our starter from the small plates menu. My partner opted for the Yerba-Smoked Beef, smoked the Argentinian way with wasabi mayo. It was very tender and the fusion of flavours, especially the tangy mayonnaise made it the perfect delicacy .
I chose the Anticuchos Skewers, a traditional Argentinian dish evidently cooked on every street corner in Buenos Aires. The skewer I chose was with grilled prawns and papaya salsa. The prawns were grilled to perfection, succulent and hot and the papaya salsa gave the dish an extra kick.
Contrary to belief CAU is not just a steak restaurant. It’s speciality is its Argentinian steak but there are countless other main courses on offer including vegetarian.
For main course, being a real fish lover, I decided on the coal baked sea bream. This was a whole fish marinated in aji Amarillo and citrus served with crispy leeks and blistered lime. I did ask for the head to be removed I must say but the fish meat just fell off the bones. It was so moist, succulent and full of flavour. Tops marks to the chef as this is a fish than can easily be over or undercooked.
Feeling a little health conscious I chose a chopped salad with my main course and this had just about every salad item in it and was very moreish.
My partner chose the Sirloin steak and was not disappointed. It came cooked exactly to his requirements and was so tender. A side order of chips was included and he added roasted mushrooms which were cooked in molido and garlic.
CAU have wonderful customer service and a sorbet was produced for my partner as a dessert. However I couldn’t resist the CAU Cornflake Ice Cream Sundae. It’s unique with layers of cornflake flavoured ice cream , cornflakes, crumble chocolate brownie and dulce de leche. It just is so moreish and melts in your mouth. Must try this for breakfast!
It’s a real must to have as for every one of these ordered CAU donates 20p to Action Against Hunger.
By the end of our meal the whole centre was like a tranquil fairyland as we gazed down on this beautiful part of Leeds.
CAU just has to be experienced to be believed. It can be exactly what you want it to be. It’s great for a romantic or celebration meal and will make the perfect Mother’s Day dining experience. The great thing about this place is the excellent, yet discreet customer service – nothing is too much trouble as well as the amazing cuisine and the truly decadent atmosphere .
CAU Victoria Gate, 1 Eastgate, Leeds. Tel: 0113 2440055
Open Mon-Fri 12-23.00 Saturday 9-23.00 – Sunday 9-22.30