The Cow & Sow, Queen Square: Review

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Cow & Sow - Exterior

 

Please note: our food and drinks at The Cow & Sow were received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

On Friday, January 14th, The OHH Pub Company opened the doors to their latest venture: The Cow & Sow on Queen Square. Describing themselves as “an all-day contemporary chophouse with innovative menus utilising fresh produce & prime cuts from across the South West”, they’re not just a restaurant either: with a decent cocktail list and accompanying nibbles menu, as well as breakfasts served every day, they’re pitching themselves to a varied clientele.

The team has clearly put a lot of thought into the Cow & Sow decor. From the cosy outdoor terrace with its roaring patio heaters to the mixture of textures, colours and materials inside, it’s a place with a cosy, intimate feel – and one where the menu is just as impressive as the design.

 

Cow & Sow - Kitchen

Cow & Sow - Table Setting

 

Being a chophouse, it’s no surprise that The Cow & Sow has a steak and pork focus on its day and night menu. There’s a sirloin, flat iron or fillet on offer for those after a single cut – or picanhas and tomahawks if you’re hungry or fancy sharing. You’ll also find a couple of vegan options, a fish dish, a burger and a chicken dish if steak and pork aren’t your thing.

One big disappointment, I’m sad to say, was the kids’ menu. With such an impressive regular menu, it was a shame to hear that the kids’ offering was just a choice between chicken nuggets, a burger or mac and cheese – the three-year-old shared my meal instead.

If you’re a cocktail fan, then I definitely recommend trying their “Smoke on the water” (£9.50), a punchy, citrusy blend of mezcal, Cointreau, watermelon, hibiscus syrup, lime and smoked rosemary. One of their signature cocktails, the flavours were incredible – a tantalising taste of the experience to come.

We chose to share a starter: The Cow & Sow braised short ribs with kohlrabi, horseradish and game chips (£8.95). We were advised when ordering that it was served off the bone, and it appeared at the table as a moulded stack of meltingly tender beef with a super-rich umami flavour. There was just enough horseradish on top to give a good kick, and the thin salted strands of raw kohlrabi were nice and refreshing. My son demolished most of the waffle cut game chips, clearly enjoying their thick, crunchy texture.

 

Cow & Sow - Braised Short Ribs

 

Having enjoyed his first taste of pork belly at the Whitmore Tap in Clifton last year, the small person wanted it for his main, and I was happy to oblige! The Cow & Sow’s miso-rubbed pork belly (£17.95) was missing the crunchy fat you’d normally expect on top, but was super tender and could be cut with a spoon, the miso flavour nice and subtle. It was served with a dense and sticky sweet honey and soy pork cheek (the child’s highlight of the meal), buttery fondant sweet potato and a mound of kimchi with a good chilli kick, as well as plenty of crunch to the vegetables.

 

Cow & Sow - Miso Pork Belly

 

It wouldn’t seem right going to a place that’s so proud of its steaks without ordering one…and the 280g, 30-day aged flat iron (£21.95) on the other side of the table was a hit. Juicy and well-seasoned, it didn’t need any sauce as an accompaniment, so the stout reduction (£3) – which was rich and certainly would have overpowered the incredible steak – was used as a dip for the chips.

The chips themselves (£3.95 per portion) didn’t come as standard, and the portion size was deemed to be a little on the stingy side. The other accompaniments were decent, though: a crispy battered onion (which reminded us of one of the standard steak sides at a well-known steakhouse chain), and a little pot of the lightest, most delicate tomato espuma.

 

Cow & Sow - Flat Iron Steak

 

Dessert was another shared affair, and the salted caramel tart (£7.50) transported me back to memories of holidays in France with its thin, soft caramelised pastry and its subtly flavoured filling, almost jelly-like in its texture. With its scoop of milk ice cream and soft but chewy shards of honeycomb on the side, it was a winner all round.

 

Cow & Sow - Salted Caramel Tart

 

I’ve got a feeling The Cow & Sow is going to be popular as a special occasion dining venue – with its price point on average slightly higher than other restaurants in the area, there’s plenty of competition around. All three of us agreed that we’d definitely head back for another meal there – it would just be good to see more thought put into their children’s menu down the line.

 

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