Cow Bar & Grill, Preston [RIP]

I adjusted my bootlace tie, confidently strode through the swinging saloon doors. I’d arrived at my destination. The piano stopped. Locals turned round to glare at the newcomer, “what’s he doing here?” they seemed to ask. I chewed on the toothpick in my mouth, this was my town now, I was the law.

At least, that’s how I saw things in my head. Back up an hour, and me and friends had been at the Continental’s Beer Festival, the plan had been to spend the evening there, but due to it being so busy, that you had to queue for about half an hour for your half of beer, after one half we decided to cut our losses, and go elsewhere. Food was drastically needed, so I suggested we visited Cow, as I’d heard good things on Facebook.

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It was quiet when we went in, but it was early on in the evening, and business began to pick up, which is good for them, we chose where we wanted to sit, and sat in a well lit part of the restaurant, ordered our drinks and began to make our choices.  I opted for the sliders, which gave me the choice of three miniature versions of the burgers on the menu, I went for the Rodeo (bacon, cheese & bbq sauce), Parisian (goats cheese & caramelised red onions) and Mediterranean (serrano ham & sun dried tomato).

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The food seemed to take a while to come out, given it was quiet, but we weren’t in any screaming rush, and I wasn’t watching the time, so I don’t know if it did take that long, or if it just felt that way. However, the service was friendly, attentive and the waiters who served us were brilliant, our waiter was particularly enthused about the slaw, so we all had slaw with our food.

When my sliders arrived, I was a bit disappointed to see that they were in ciabatta style bread rolls. When I first had sliders in That London©, they were served in delicate brioche buns, and they were perfect against the burgers, soft and giving. Unfortunately the ciabatta rolls were tough, and I ended up leaving about 80% of the bread, and just eating the burgers on their own. The BBQ burger was my favourite, tangy bbq sauce and bacon, everyone loves bacon. The burger was cooked well (perhaps if I wanted to be pedantic, it could have been cooked a little less, but there was nothing wrong with it at all), the Mediterranean was fine, the sun dried tomato giving a nice flavour to it, and the heat of the burger wafting the scent of the serrano ham in my direction. The Parisian burger, however I didn’t enjoy. Usually I love goats cheese, but perhaps I don’t like it when it’s warm, it just smelled really pungent, and put me off the rest of it. The slaw was nice, if a touch underseasoned, I had to add a good crack of salt and black pepper to help me eat more of it. I always have room for gherkins, though. It was nice to have gherkins on the plate, to help between burgers.

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My friends who I was dining with felt the same about the bread used for the sliders. One friend had sliders, and left the majority of her bread, however the other friend who had the steak had nothing bad to say. The steak was cooked perfectly (he asked for it blue, as is proper, and as he put “take off the horns and wipe it’s arse”), and it came blue. He said the chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, which is how they should be (apparently, I really don’t like chips myself, I tasted one, it tasted how I’m sure chips are supposed to, but I just don’t like chips), and I always find a good way to judge a restaurant is on how well they cook a steak to order.

A few minor quibbles, firstly music. In a place that is selling itself as a steak bar, with such a heavy Americana theme, it was quite strange to be eating and listening to soul music, I would have preferred one of both types of music (country AND western), or bluegrass. Another thing was a small surprise when the bill arrived. I was led to believe that a side order was included with the burgers (the menu said, choose your burger and a side), however I was charged £1.50 for slaw, I think this should be made more obvious that sides aren’t included.

Shortly after we’d finished, my dad arrived to join us for a drink, and following a long day at work, he decided to have a burger, too. He had a regular sized burger, and it came in a normal bap. I think they should use a similar style bread for the sliders in the future. My dad’s burger looked fantastic, so I hope to return to try a full size burger, and also the hot wings in the future.

I think this place will do well in Preston, and deserves to do well, there’s nowhere offering what Cow has to offer in town, and I want to see them succeed.

Cost

Three sliders, one side of homemade slaw & a pint of Becks Vier : £13.40

Score

I think there are areas to be improved on, but overall, it’s not too bad : 7/10

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