For me, no trip to the US of A is ever complete without a visit to a steakhouse. These opulent temples of beef, with their menus of cheese and bacon loaded side dishes, big booze lists, and cream heavy puddings, never fail to deliver a meal which has me waddling out the door.
With the arrival of Pasture in Cardiff, the city now has its closest approximation to the steakhouses of the states; a role which London’s excellent Hawksmoor
fulfilled when I lived in the Big Smoke.
The opening of this Bristol export’s second branch is a canny move to a city which has a curious obsession with the mediocre chain Miller and Carter.
Pasture is an unquestionable upgrade.
For a start, they only serve grass fed British beef which has been dry aged for at least 35 days and is butchered in house.
Secondly, their extensive selection of snacks, starters and sides, which includes dishes like coal roast scallops, crispy chicken wings with soy & bourbon glaze, caramel pork belly with competition bbq sauce and spinach & leek gratin, is a serious crowd pleaser. Trying to whittle our selection down to a meagre five dishes took a serious feat of discipline.
Finally, Pasture has a decent craft beer selection featuring localish breweries like Lost & Grounded and Tiny Rebel and a proper cocktail menu too (a mixologist was busily shaking away throughout our meal).
In summary, it’s the kind of place where you can go “out out” and make a night of it.
A quartet of short rib croquettes (£5) were the clear standout of the starters and snacks. A tangle of tender beef shreds bathed in thick meaty gravy were coated in a golden crumb and sat on gochujang aioli with an addictive whallop of chilli.
Roasted padrons (£4) were big ol’ beasts. The portly peppers were beautifully charred and accompanied by spicy and citrusy shichimi spice and a thick, creamy and nutty cashew puree.
Lobster toast (£9.50) was a clever riff on the Chinese takeaway classic. The crisp black and white sesame studded toast was stuffed with sweet minced crustacean and sat on a pool of rich and buttery sauce fragranced with tarragon and dulce.
Onto the main event and Pasture make a big deal of their house sharing cuts (chateaubriand, tomahawk and porterhouse) which take pride of place in the restaurant’s ageing cabinet.
With the ever virtuous Mrs G set on a fillet steak (£26.96), I opted for sirloin (£18.50) as I wasn’t 100% convinced of my ability to solo takedown a 700g tomahawk.
Both bits of meat were cooked absolutely bob on; bronze crusted from the charcoal grill, nicely seasoned and well rested. They had a good flavour too but arguably less of a distinct beefiness in comparison to equivalent examples I’ve eaten at Asador 44 and Hawksmoor.
A very tender rare fillet steak was accompanied by chimichurri sauce with bags of green herb and balancing acidity.
The medium rare sirloin had a nice level of chew and and was joined by an exemplary brown butter bearnaise.
The star of a trio of sides was without doubt a cheese crusted pot of mac and cheese (£3.95) with a chive and bacon crumb.
Seriously oozy and cheesy (parmesan, gouda and mozzarella all featured according to our server), its the kind of dish which would be worth a visit to Pasture for alone.
Tender hispi cabbage (£3.95) had a lovely lick of char and was topped with bacon butter which veered slightly towards mustardy acidity rather than porky butteriness.
Sweet and earthy roast beets (£3.95) were dusted with spiced nut dukkah and more of that excellent cashew yoghurt which appeared with the padrons earlier in the meal.
Pretty stuffed, we shared just the one dessert.
A wedge of smoked cheesecake (£6.95) divided the crowd; I was a fan whilst Mrs G wasn’t fully sold.
Thick, creamy, lightly charred, slightly sweet, savoury and salty, it delivered an unmistakeable smoked cheese note reminiscent of the Bavarian smoked cheese logs which my grandma used to eat. Spritzed with a pear vinegar mist and accompanied by a scoop of milky ice cream, the dish was half cheese course and half pud. If you’re a classic baked cheesecake purist then I’d probably give it a miss.
We had an excellent meal at Pasture and it certainly fits comfortably in Cardiff’s top tier of restaurants. Having eyed up their mahoosive burger leaving the kitchen, I’m already plotting another visit.
Address - Pasture, 8 - 10 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1BB
Telephone - 07511 217422