Eat Out critic Petro Lotz visits The Cow Shed in East London to try its tasty steakhouse-style offering.
Best for: Feasts of excellent red meat
Cost: Average main course is R130
Serves: Contemporary steakhouse food in an upmarket pub-style setting
Star rating: Food 4, service 2, ambience 4
The Cow Shed showcases chef Adam Iverson’s knack for reinventing comfort food in dishes such as Wiltshire pork sausage on mash with onion gravy, or creamy smoked salmon and pea risotto, presented so beautifully you might have to gaze at your plate for a moment before tucking in. Starters include culinary gymnastics like a hock terrine with bitterballen and golden-raisin purée. The pork belly, red cabbage and dauphinoise potatoes with apricots is an oh-so delicious revisit of that great pub favourite.
However, where The Cow Shed really excels is steaks. Dry-aged slabs of beautiful meat. The 600g rib eye is a particular favourite, but you name it, they’ll have your beef. A note of caution: You might want to order your steak more rare than you would normally do, as they have an over-enthusiastic griller. Then choose your sauce amongst options such as the retro cheese, confit garlic butter, or peas with cream and bacon. The dessert options are few, but your sweet tooth will surely be satisfied by rich and thick salted-caramel mousse, which arrives in a glass bubble, or ambrosial lemon-curd meringue shards and cinnamon ice cream.
The drinks list is sadly not as exciting as the food. The corkage fee is quite reasonable, however, even for expensive wines and bubblies. And they have lovely glasses.
The front-of-house staff members are friendly, but service can be slow, inadequately informed and lethargic. The clever quotes on the waitrons’ T-shirts are entertaining.
The décor is beautiful: understated, with wood, copper and duck-egg blue accents, plants and (obviously) cow hides. Lovely crockery and the presentation of the food, plus the parchment paper menu, contribute to a creative, artisanal experience. The loos could do with a revamp, though.
If you arrive early, why not pop into adjoining bar The Milk Shed for pre-drinks?
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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