Raising the steaks...
This early evening treat was meant to act as a metaphor for the economy.
Steakout on Cannon Street, you’ll remember, was feted for its locally-sourced and char grilled 28 day-aged steaks – up to a whopping £20 for an admittedly-wonderful 8oz fillet steak, plus two quid for a sauce.
Then on August 16 last year, eight days after announcing its new website and menu, a simple Tweet called time: “Sadly The Steakout closed its doors yesterday....Thanks for all your custom & support xx”.
Well rising from the wood chip ashes, as it were, is the Cow Bar and Grill.
The scaled-down menu still offers steak – a recession-era £12.95 for a fillet steak stack being very reasonable – but the emphasis is now on affordability.
There’s not a starter costing more than a fiver and the afters, sorry deserts, all cost £3.50.
There’s a Grown up Fish Butty – mini fillets of battered haddock on sliced bread or a baguette with dill mayo and chips for £3.50 – and a Hot Cow Burger – a homemade ¼lb burger with salsa and cheese served with chips and salad garnish for £4.95.
I had my eye on the Cow Steak Butty – served on a crusty baguette with caramelized red onion and a side of chunky chips, £4.95.
Then fate intervened.
Or a curly four-year-old excitable daughter who beat me to the restaurant and, with the help of mum and her “medicinal” brandy, had already set up a bar bill!
Flirting with the staff, daughter – and possibly wifey – had decided we were going off menu.
Not that there was anything wrong with the menu, or for that matter the children’s food, having all the staples you’d expect including a drink and ice cream for £4.50.
But the cheeky scamp gleefully accepted offers of a fresh tomato sauce with pasta and a specially-made pancakes.
She devoured the lot and declared the place “cool”.
And, upon waking the next day asked if we could go back.
She also help my missus devour her steak medallions crispy rosti and the crunchy green beans and carrots.
She didn’t, however, get anywhere near my chicken Kiev, again off menu and over from cooking the owner’s tea I was told by one of the three staff who she should be fighting to keep.
They were funny, engaging, friendly (even when madam smothered the table in juices) and made us very comfortable even as we had got our own Igam Ogam in tow.
Anyway the juicy, plump proper breast was a far cry from your pre-packed supermarket Kievs and just magic.
It swam in the butter that oozed from its innards and gave me the opportunity to soap up the heart-threatening liquids with crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside chips. No compromise on quality but a damn enjoyable night out for less than 40 notes.
: Cow Bar and Grill, Cannon Street Preston. Call 01772 558865 to book.