The Cowshed is not a cattle-filled barn on a farm but a bustling steak restaurant on Bristol’s Whiteladies Road.
The large glass frontage lets in lots of light. In the front area is a large bar and several tables. More seating can be found half a level up. The kitchen and a large banquet table are half a level down. Decor is modern with slate flooring, exposed brick walls, large blackboards regaling us with The Cowshed philosophy and quirky ornaments such as wooden crate shelves displaying old glass bottles.
Owner Adam Denton likes to buy local. As well as buying from Ruby & White butchers next door, other suppliers include The Bath Pig, Lahloo Tea, Clifton Coffee and several others I’m not familiar with.
My Crab & Lobster Risotto (£7.95) has a decent crab flavour and is well cooked. The lobster on top is fresh and tasty.
Pete’s Grilled Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce, Poached Egg & Parmesan Shavings (£5.95) is a very simple dish, so relies on good ingredients cooked well. It doesn’t disappoint.
Matt’s Assiette of Duck: Smoked Duck Breast, Duck Terrine & Duck Liver With Raspberry Dressing (£7.95) is a lovely trio of textures and flavours. The bread and dressed salad are decent too.
A good start!
Pete stays vegetarian for this meal with a Wild Mushroom & Taragon Risotto, Parmesan & Crispy Rocket (£12.95). I think it’s a little pricy for what it is, but again it’s well made and with lots of flavour.
Having not had the cut before, Matt takes my recommendation for what is probably my favourite cut of steak. His 280 gram rib eye steak (£18.20) is delicious. It doesn’t include sides or sauces. Fat chips (£2.50) are good, though I’d like a touch more colour on them.
I go for a Steak On Stone, which is, so the menu tells me, unique to The Cowshed. Raw steak and “a lava rock heated to 420°” allows you “to cook your steak exactly how you like it, in your own time”. I choose 280 grams of Trimmed Sirloin Steak (£22.70) rather than 220 grams of Fillet Steak (£24.70). My steak comes with three sauces (bearnaise, barbeque and peppercorn) but no sides.
Both the menu and our waiter warn me not to touch the stone, and indeed, judging by how quickly my steak slices cook, I can see why. I cook and eat at leisurely pace and the stone certainly stays hot throughout, though the last couple of slices do take a little longer to brown.
It’s a novel idea, and given that the price of the sirloin is the same by weight as for a sirloin steak served in the normal way, it’s a great deal, especially with the sauces which are normally an additional £2 each.
Pete declares his Elderflower Syllabub, Pimm’s Jelly, Meringue, Fruit Coulis (£5.95) superb – a grown up nursery dessert.
I’m not as keen on my Chocolate Delice, Bitter Chocolate Sauce & Chantilly Cream (and at £8.30 it’s a bit pricy for a dessert) but it does get finished by the others, so I’m guessing they liked it better!
Matt loves his chocolate brownie and fruit choice, a daily special which I failed to make any notes about, so can tell you neither name nor price.
The Cowshed is a very pleasant local restaurant, with a straightforward and appealing menu, good food well cooked and friendly service. It’s a nice place to while away an evening with friends and we’d happily go again.
Our visit to The Cowshed was part of a week-long South West Tour courtesy of The Food Travel Company. They are a new company offering specialist trips for food (and drink) lovers, with group departures and customised itineraries available.
Thanks to Matt Gibson for additional photos.