REVIEW: A New American Restaurant @ Cattle Steakhouse, Southampton

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Yes, I know what you’re all thinking! Finally I’m reviewing somewhere that isn’t an Italian restaurant!! Sorry guys, I will promise to mix things up a bit this year!! So a few months back I heard about an American restaurant opening up in my hometown. I started following their Facebook page which had exciting posts with photos of tantalising American food like mouth-watering hot dogs, succulent burgers and crispy fried chicken. Of course, I had to do my usual thing and “register my interest” 😉 

I got chatting to the Restaurant Manager via their Facebook page and started to follow the progress on the preparations for the opening. They told me there’d be a DJ all weekend and that we would get to try a bit of everything, like a taster menu I presumed. Eventually I was invited along to their opening night and decided to bring my girlfriend along (also proven herself to be a fantastic foodie photographer). We were both very excited! We arrived and the staff seemed to all be gathered around the counter. We were eventually acknowledged and seated; not the best of starts. We were both dressed up for the night and looking forward to some decent food.

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We perused the menu. The prices seemed average but we were yet to see what the food was like. Unfortunately we were told that there was a problem with the drinks license, but luckily the menu offered a few mocktails. The steak menu is looked really good; offering a range of cuts and with a choice of sauces. I think the steaks are what this restaurant focuses on. We both went for a non-alcoholic strawberry mojito and it was fantastic! So refreshing, fruity and a generous amount too.

We continued perusing the menu and were chatting so much that the staff came to our table a few times asking if we were ready to order!! What can I say, we’re a couple of chatterboxes! Eventually we both chose the same thing; The Mexican Hot Dog with fries. I was a nice touch that you can swap out regular fries for sweet potato fries. My girlfriend chose sweet potato fries. The food soon arrived.

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The first thing that struck me was that the portion size was quite small. For the average prices, I think the portion size could have been a bit better. Perhaps a bigger hot dog and a few more fries. Either that or maybe include a side of coleslaw or onion rings. It just didn’t seem like there was much food, especially for the price. Nazim, the Restaurant Manager, popped by to say hello and to welcome us to his restaurant.

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The decor was nice; we both loved the rope lighting. There was an air of disorganisation and the staff seemed to be slightly unprepared but friendly nonetheless. It was very unfortunate that there was no DJ, alcohol license or a big media/bloggers presence. My girlfriend and I were thrilled to be invited back by Nazim for a meal on the house; he told me that there were a lot of issues on the night and apologised that he didn’t get a chance to look after us that night. So, naturally, we had to return….

Our second visit:

We were hoping for better things this time around and were really excited that the food was on the house!! Win! We were seated a bit quicker this time around, although there was still a feeling that the staff were a little disorganised. Promptly, we were asked whether we would like to order drinks. Naturally, we chose a bottle of white wine because that’s how we roll! Underwhelmed buy the hot dogs we had on our first visit, we perused the steaks on the menu…

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The steaks are definitely the focus of this restaurant. You can fully-customise your steak, starting off with whether you’d like it ‘cow style’ (lightly seasoned) or ‘cattle style’ (marinaded and served on a bed of onions). Then you can choose whether you’d like chicken, the usual beef cuts or surf & turf. Then you choose the sauce and side. My girlfriend and I upgraded to sweet potato fries because they’re soooo much nicer than regular fries. She takes fantastic photos….

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Surprise, surprise, we both chose the same thing: chicken ‘cattle style’. We both agreed that it was absolutely delicious! The chicken was so flavoursome and tender. Many a time I’ve eaten dried, flavourless chicken in restaurants, but not here. The upgrade to a side of sweet potato fries is also well worth it they’re so crispy and flavoursome. It’s safe to say, the food didn’t last long on our plates!! When we had finished, Sam came over and offered us another bottle of wine plus a discount. Win! How could we refuse?!

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Of course, we had to go for pudding too..

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Cookie dough cheesecake seemed like a pretty good shout for both of us. It was a pretty modest portion but very tasty nonetheless. Safe to say, it didn’t last long! The bill arrived and was at the normal price, despite me saying to the staff numerous times that Nazim has told us the food was on the house. Eventually, after my girlfriend explaining to various staff members that Nazim offered the food on the house, we were given our bill which only included the wine and deducted the food. We left without a thank you from the staff.

Whilst the food was much better on our second visit, we both agreed that the service was well below par. The staff seemed so disorganised and my girlfriend said they all appear to be students. Thankfully, Sam was very attentive and even noticed that my girlfriend had restyled hair on the second visit and offered us a discount on the wine.

From pretty mediocre food on our first visit to much improved food on the second, there is no excuse for disorganised staff and for giving us the incorrect bill initially. As far as the service is concerned, Sam was the saving grace. I hope this place improves then I’d be happy to give it another chance.

Date of visit: 30/03/18 & 27/04/18

Keith’s rating: 2.5 out of 5

Where is it?
14-15 Hanover Buildings
Southampton
SO14 1JX
023 8184 9978
https://www.cattlesteakhouse.co.uk/

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