Thursday, 8 September 2011

Cattle Grid Leeds Bloggers Event

I was very lucky to be able to attend a bloggers event on Tuesday night at Cattle Grid in Leeds.

I'll be honest with you - I don't go to Steak Restaurants all that often.  The last one I went to was The Rythre Arms and that was at least 3 years ago now - a lovely steak restaurant that I hope to get back to again soon.

The best steak I've had, so far, (that I haven't cooked myself) was in the Baltic Restaurant in Newcastle, the food coupled with the views was amazing... But I'm more than willing to keep trying steaks to try and find a better one!

Promo shot of the outside

But I'm here to tell you about Cattle Grid.  Here goes....

The event on Tuesday night saw 15 of us invited to dine for free at the Cattle Grid restaurant.  Cattle Grid is located behind the Corn Exchange in Leeds, in the old Cafe Rouge building.

We arrived and were given a drink, the vast majority of us plumped for red wine, readying our palettes for the meat...  We took our seats, an excited buzz about the room, and then were given a talk by one of the co-owners Steve Novak.  He was very frank with us about their restaurant vision, ensuring we were under no illusions of what the place will be.  Steve and Shaun want Cattle Grid to become the steak version of Pizza Express.  Or Nandos.  But we don't talk about Nando's on this blog.   I like their ambition!  Steve told us more about where the meat is sourced etc, and answered any questions we had and dealt with the pack of hungry bloggers very well.

One of the excellent questions to Steve was what would he recommend for us to eat - his response was the Ribeye - so I went for that one.  It's not a cut of steak I've ever had, I always have fillet.  I've been missing out, and will be changing my steak ways.   Penny and I ordered onion strings, spinach and coleslaw to share as sides, and I was talked into sharing a half rack of baby back ribs and piri piri ribs with Neil and Dave.

The baby back ribs were gorgeous, but the piri piri ribs were incredibly spicy - far too much for me, but if you like them spicy then they're for you... Not for the faint hearted.

After a short wait, and plenty of chatting and more red wine quaffing, out came most of our sides and the steaks.

I asked for my steak medium rare, also recommended by Steve, and that's exactly how it came.   The ribeye was tremendous, with a fantastic flavour.  The blue cheese sauce I opted to have with it was also delicious, I was glad I picked that one.  The chips were doubled fried, as is fashionable at the moment - they were very enjoyable.  The spinach was fine, and the coleslaw was creamy.

A few of the other steaks weren't cooked as they were ordered to be unfortunately, I'm wondering if that was a timing issue - their steaks were HUGE.  Dave and Neil had enormous T bone steaks, and Penny had a very large Chicken Burger with the harrissa topping.

Due to a fryer malfunction we didn't receive Penny's chips or the onion strings until nearly the end of the meal.  The onion strings, not to be confused with onion rings, were salty, sweet and moorish - deep fried in a light tempura style batter.  Had I not have eaten a full meal by then I would have happily polished off the full portion, with a lovely cold pint of lager to accompany them! (Oh how I ooze class...)

I really enjoyed my main, and felt for those whose steaks weren't as up to scratch as mine.  Amazingly, for all the food and wine we'd consumed by then, the majority of us opted for a pudding too.  I opted for chocolate icecream, with others having waffles or crème brulee.

I loved the presentation of the brulee, but I wasn't keen on the taste.  I only managed one ball of my ice cream, but it was chocolatey and nice - nothing exciting, but I wasn't expecting to be wowed by it.  I often wonder that for a place like Cattle Grid it's probably not worth investing too much into the puddings, because it's not really what people are there for - they're there for meat and lots of it.  Feel free to let me know if you disagree though.

Towards the end of the evening we were shown upstairs, to what is currently being refurbed to become a venue to be used for a comedy night.  Comedy isn't my thing but I'd be interested to see how the room works as a venue.  I thought it would make a marvellous, intimate venue for Bettakultcha, and proceeded to bore poor Steve about Bettakultcha for the next five minutes.

(The red wine had fully taken control by then...).

So what did I think about Cattle Grid then?

Well, if I'm honest, I've found it hard to give anything but a glowing review - I don't think you can be fully objective about a free meal.  It's an issue I always discuss when with bloggers, and we all have a different opinion on it.

Promo shot of the bar area

I absolutely enjoyed the evening.  The venue was trendy without being intimidating.  My food was excellent although I know it can't be said for everyone - but my meal was very good.   The fryer breaking was unfortunate but certainly not a big deal.  The service was warm, friendly and efficient.  The generosity of allowing us bloggers free reign over the menu was fantastic.

Will I go again?

Yes.  I wouldn't be a regular, as I wouldn't be in any steak place, but I'll be taking my parents to Cattle Grid soon, and hopefully my brother too, they all love a good steak.  I would prefer them to be using only local suppliers for the meat as they do with the bread - from Anthony's - but I understand that pricing has to be taken into consideration - the fact that they don't use local meat suppliers wouldn't stop me from going.

I also think it's important as a food blogger to go back again and pay, to support the restaurant, but also to see what my experience as an average customer is like.

Thank you to Steve for allowing us to visit Cattle Grid, and to Emma and Clancy for organising such a brilliant event.


  1. Sounds like a good night! I definitely think your meal looks the best! If I can drag the other half away from his favourite steak restaurant I will be trying this one out :o)

  2. We went for a family lunch there weekend before last and enjoyed it immensely.


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