Staying in the countryside with J, the sister and the brother-in-law for the weekend, and by countryside I mean Woking because let’s face it, it’s not in London and therefore must be the countryside, and late Saturday afternoon, the talk turns to food and where we’re going to eat that night.
Having a Google at the culinary offerings of Woking and nearby Guildford, the words ‘Argentian cuisine’ immediately jump out among the sea of pizza and pasta. CAU. We try to book. We’re told they have no space. We’re a little bit ridiculously disappointed. We’re 4 people who love their food. Love to eat it, love to cook it, love to go out and try new versions of it so yeah, after imagining steak and churros and empanadas, the thought of an American Hot or spaghetti carbonara, however nicely done, doesn’t quite cut it. We continue to search online and on an the off chance, try them once more…they have space! We frantically book! We are successful! Hurrah!
CAU better deliver on its promises of great food and atmosphere because they have unknowingly, set the bar sky high now…
I have to admit that upon arrival, it was nothing like I thought it would be which is not to say it was bad, just not what I had imagined in my head. Argentinean dining, to this little chica at least, was going to be dark, intimate, passionate. Well it actually didn’t look a million miles away from the Pizza Express-Zizzi world we had been trying to avoid but hey, the staff were friendly and there were seats available at the bar for us to wait at while they finished clearing our table. The place is huge and warehouse like with 2 floors and it was packed with a surprisingly large number of families.
Upstairs, it was slightly less overwhelming and slightly closer to the cosy, warm experience I’d predicted in my head. The menu was exciting and diverse and for me, as something I’d never had before, it was swordfish to start with and then, in complete contrast and completely unadventurously for me, sweet potato and chorizo salad for my main.
The swordfish was stunning. Light, sweet, fresh, with the most beautiful texture and accompanied by a wasabi, soy and ginger sauce, it was my first experience of this and most definitely will not be my last. I literally made myself slow down and savour each bite off the skewer because this was not a plate I wanted to see empty quickly.
The salad that followed was nice. Yes, I have to admit I was a little disappointed because after a starter that blew my socks off, the main definitely put them back on. It had suffered slightly from the problem that affects many salads as mains – too much greenery and not enough topping. The sweet potato was bright and delicious, the chorizo spicy and succulent but both were cut in very small cubes and got somewhat lost. There was red onion and avocado thrown in there as well which is always good, it was just all a bit sparse.
Shared churros ended the meal as just a mouthful of something sweet, sticky and sugary was needed and they too were nice enough. Don’t get me wrong, I would go back to CAU because it was good to go somewhere slightly more adventurous and it was really pleasing to see this kind of place open and be so popular already, I would just hope that the next time rest of the menu had caught up in terms of delivery and deliciousness to that swordfish.