Seel Street, Liverpool
Review by Natasha Young
Cowshed may neighbour one of Liverpool’s best known nightspots, but its recent arrival has been discreet.
You’d be forgiven for missing the hanging sign that has cropped up next door to the Blue Angel as, from the exterior, this steakhouse gives little away.
My dinner date and I paid a Friday night visit and it was clear we weren’t the only ones to have cottoned on to the hidden gem.
We were ushered to a cosy yet busy backroom dining area littered with homely features including a fireplace and well-stacked bookshelves.
A mouth-watering cocktail choice awaited and, after much deliberation, I chose the Gin N’ Jam (£7.50) – a mix of Bombay Sapphire, lemon, sugar and raspberry jam. The jam provided a vibrant colour and flavour without being overpowering.
Anticipating his red meat main, my partner opted for a glass of Shiraz (£6.25).
The food options were laid out in front of us, complete with a diagram explaining each cut of the cow and recommendations of how they’re best served – an indication of the kitchen’s expertise.
While specials were available that night, the core menu leaves steak fans to customise their dish.
Any 8oz cut of beef, cooked to taste and accompanied by rocket and parmesan, can be pimped up with sauces and sides.
Lured in by the suggestion that rump (£12) “works harder than most other parts of the cow, leading to a greater amount of flavour” I picked this, medium cooked, for my centrepiece. I added a bourbon BBQ sauce (£2) and fries (£2.50).
My partner chose the ribeye (£14), medium rare as recommended, with sweet potato mash (£3.25) and classic pepper sauce (£2).
Homemade vegetable crisps (£3) occupied our taste buds as we waited for the main event, without the greasiness often found in packet versions.
We also grazed on macaroni and cheese croquettes (£3), which were deliciously hot, gooey and served with a creamy tomato and jalapeno dip.
With Cowshed’s main focus being meat, I had worried it would fall into that current trend of serving hefty slabs of the stuff which are more of a challenge than a meal – an approach to food which isn’t really for me.
There was no need for concern though – our mains arrived perfectly proportioned and beautifully cooked.
Silence descended as we concentrated on the tender, melt-in-the-mouth meats which were packed with flavour.
A staple on many traditional restaurant or pub grub menus, steak dishes in my experience have often been average and, at worst, tough or dry. Cowshed’s take is anything but, and shows the difference it can make when the beef is given this much focus and attention.
My partner was also impressed with the depth of flavour in the pepper sauce, which stood out amongst other versions he’d tried.
With menus laid out across the tables I’d been eyeing up Cowshed’s desserts and had to try the red velvet cheesecake (£5.50) which, on paper, sounded like a mind-blowing hybrid of two of my favourite puddings.
A wild berry compote added a slight sharpness to complement the sweet cheesecake, which was creamy and tasty yet, despite my best efforts, too big to finish.
My partner’s baked apple and raspberry tartlet with honeycomb and clotted cream (£6) was well presented and tasted just as good, although a little more apple would have made that treat complete.
During an enjoyable evening at Cowshed the steak was certainly memorable, giving enough reason alone to explore beyond the eatery’s discreet exterior or, in our case, to plot a return.