You’ll have worked out something is different this week, as I am posting this on a Friday. At 11:30am. At exactly the same time as Edible Reading posts.
Edible also went to Cau too this week – we thought that it might be interesting for our respective readers to read two opinions on the same restaurant.
I’d wanted to go to Cau long before it opened, when it was just a planning application. Yeah I read those kind of things sometimes. Kind of like I want to go to Grillstock if/when that opens.
I also imagined going with a sizeable group of friends. As it was, I just went by myself. If I’m out on my adventures in the countryside somewhere, I am very happy sat there by myself, having a pint and reading the Economist. For some reason, if I’m dining in Reading town centre by myself, I feel a bit odd.
Not even Edible would go with me, due to the anonymity protection. I did suggest going in costume – I was thinking maybe Zippy and George (I wouldn’t mind being George), but despite their wide mouths, I’m not sure how easy it would have been to eat. The comfort factor maybe not have been ideal on a very warm sunny day either.
I do wish that I had the detailed knowledge of food that Edible has, and the ability to describe so eloquently – but as I’ve pointed out before, there are only so many ways to describe carrots. Except this time – this time was different.
I sat on my swivel chair and got straight down to ordering – there is only one choice, and that is beef. I didn’t look at the rest of the menu as I had a job to do – and I knew full well just how tempting the rest of the menu would have been for a steak-lover.
Also I ordered a side-dish of cauliflower cheese, or more accurately, a side-pot.
The meal arrived after around 15 minutes, on a sharing platter. And it was 15 uncomfortable, terrifying minutes for I had a docile wasp on the window right next to my head. Waiting. Should I use my Economist to kill it? Would I be making a scene?
I got straight into moving the meal from the sharing platter to my plate, a waste of my time but never mind.
The cauliflower cheese was perfectly done in terms of cooking length – keeping it’s legitimacy despite a hint of softness. It wasn’t particularly cheesy which is something I have learnt to live with, it was rather creamy though.
Now the wasp was on my table, to the left, and inching ever so slowly towards my hand, and the plate. I froze and considered my options. I decided to entice the wasp onto a packet of sugar, and flicked it away from me.
For the carrots, it was one long carrot cut in half and roasted. I shall repeat – it was roasted. Why don’t more places roast their carrots? This is by far the tastiest way to cook carrots – and Cau went overboard in how exceptional the carrots were – covered with chives, perhaps a very slight hint of chilli. They also seemed to have been roasted in honey. This was a really excellent carrot. The standard has been set.
Sadly the roast potatoes didn’t meet expectations. Well, they did meet expectations as they were not that good and most places fail. I’ve had worse though. It was one potato, say 10cm in length, cut in half and seemingly deep-fried rather than roasted, at least that was how it tasted. It also didn’t seem to be cooked inside enough – they were biteable, not fluffy as they should have been inside.
Then the wasp came back. This time just an inch or two from my right hand and not quite as slowly this time. I repeated my aforementioned trick and tried to put it in the empty cauliflower cheese pot. I failed, it landed on the floor and I squashed it. Sorry. I try not to kill things but I had a situation to manage.
Onion rings. I’m all for creativity on a roast dinner. Did it make sense? No. Did I enjoy them? Yes. They were freshly prepared and freshly battered rings of delight. Soft yet crispy with a ring of onion inside – but they didn’t work brilliantly well with gravy. I was tempted to ask for a little ketchup. They were excellent onion rings.
The Yorkshire pudding was on the large side – soft on the inside, with well-risen crispy edges. Good work.
Then out of the corner of my eye, on the window, I saw another wasp.
And onto what Cau prides itself on – the beef. Thankfully it was delectable. There were 4 slices, each around 3mm thick – I’d say slightly more generous than the average. It was pink – not overly so and there wasn’t the option to choose otherwise, or at least it wasn’t offered to me. It was very tender and juicy – and it came close to melting in my mouth. Very, very good beef.
I shall finish on the gravy, and it was a red wine endeavour – this can so easily end up disgusting but they clearly know what they are doing at Cau, it was reasonably thick – only the tiniest pots was provided but extra was forthcoming upon request.
I haven’t moaned much have I? The service was good – unspectacular but good.
But it wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences thanks to the wasps and also the dreadful music being played.
I don’t often mention the music, as generally it is just background music but here it was on rather loud for a restaurant – perhaps to give it an upbeat feel, however the music being played switched backwards and forwards between indie-pop guff and that Spanish-muzak that they play at Las Iguanas. Play me crap music if you want (sorry, I mean music I do not appreciate) but why protrude my dining experience so much?
Overall this was an excellent experience and I cannot wait to go back to try the steak. Hopefully with a friend or two.
Last week, the more I thought about the roast dinner experience, the lower the score went. This time it has increased the more I thought about it – and I’m going to give it a very healthy 8.1 out of 10. By the way, my guess is that Edible Reading will rate it a 7.9.
It is the best roast dinner in Reading town centre by some way.
Next Sunday the random number generator is sending me back to the scene of a recent disaster. I am not amused.