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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Restaurant Review - Cocktails & Steaks, Main St, Uddingston

I was recently sent a press release about the opening of an upmarket steakhouse in the North Lanarkshire town of Uddingston. Cocktails & Steaks has opened its doors promising local diners a great steak and fancy cocktails without the hassle of travelling into Glasgow.
I love a great steak as much as the next man so when the team at Cocktails & Steaks reached out to me to see if I would like to put their menu to the test, I was more than happy to take up their kind offer.
I had heard previously that Uddingston has quite a few decent restaurants but although the North Lanarkshire town might only be 8 miles, as the crow flies, from our home in East Kilbride, poor public transport links make it very difficult to get to. In order to satisfy our invitation, we decided that the best plan would be to take the car and head straight to Uddingston from Glasgow after work and if we enjoyed our meal, we could look into the logistics should a second visit end up on the cards.
After an extensive £200,000 renovation of a building that once housed a tobacconist and newsagent, the stylish restaurant would not look out of place in Glasgow's Finnieston or London's Soho with exposed brickwork and hanging filament bulb lighting helping create an interior that feels cosy and welcoming from the minute we walked through the door.
We arrived about six o'clock and were shown to our table on the mezzanine level which gave us a good view of the bar area and restaurant downstairs. It might have been a midweek evening but that didn't put the Uddingston residents off going out - in fact, by the time we left, the downstairs section of Cocktails & Steaks was almost full.
As we were going to be eating steaks, choosing the colour of wine was easy but settling on a particular grape was a little more difficult. With ten different wines available by the glass, (plus a healthy number of bottles too) there's no shortage of choice but in the end I settled for a small glass of a Chilean Malbec that was full of black fruit flavours with a touch of spice that worked well with the ribeye steak that we would enjoy later.
Every starter on the menu had us excited and whilst it's normally easy for us to guess what the other will order, I really didn't have a clue what Nicola would order but after after bypassing scallops and beef carpaccio, she settled on the confit duck leg croquette with sweet orange & chilli chutney and grilled pak choi.
The croquettes were packed with the rich flavour of duck and was balance well with the chilli chutney. The sweet orange didn't carry enough citrusy bite to stand up to the duck but the addition on the grilled pak choi did bring a freshness that worked well croquette.
For some reason, I also somehow managed to sidestep the beef carpaccio and scallop starter, deciding to order the goat's cheese with beetroot carpaccio, pickled walnuts & crispy sage leaf.
I love vegetarian starters and my veggie choice was a winner tonight. The goat's cheese had been whipped with cream giving it an almost mousse like appearance whilst reducing the acidity level of the cheese.
Thinly sliced discs of three types of beetroot supported the quenell of whipped cheese while pickled walnuts and a few chunky croutons added a nice crunch to the dish. I've never been a massive fan of sage and the deep fried sage leaves done nothing to change my mind. That said, it didn't take away from what was a very nice summer starter.
We have been caught out in the past when we've each ordered starter, main and a couple of side dishes only to struggle finishing our dinner and with one eye on the truffled mac'n'cheese, we decided to share the 300g Josper grilled ribeye.
All of the beef on the menu at Cocktails & Steaks has been hung and dry aged for 28 days ensuring that the beef delevops a fuller flavour before being cooked. The Josper , is a relatively new addition to professional kitchen but is fast becoming the only way to cook prime meat for the best results. The Josper is a hybrid of a charcoal barbecue and industrial oven which is predominantly used to grill meat. If you imagine an indoor barbecue with a front door, you're heading in the right direction. Once the meat is put on to the grill and the oven door closed, all of the moisture and flavour are essentially sealed into the meat.
We've eaten a lot of good quality steak in the last year or so but I can honestly say that our ribeye, which was cooked medium rare, was one of the best pieces of meat that we've eaten in quite some time. The menu promised tender, tasty and succulent and it delivered on all three.
The steak was served with the obligatory bucket of hand cut chips, a watercress and griddled tomato salad and a pot of super garlicky butter. We were also offered a choice of sauces to go with our steak but the garlic butter was the perfect foil for the smoky flavours from the Josper grilled steak.
In addition to the side of truffled mac'n'cheese, we also ordered a side of sautéed garlic mushrooms to accompany our steak and chips. This balance of one main and two sides to share was the perfect amount of food for the two of us and this time there was no sign of any food waste.
The truffled mac'n'cheese was amazing. Nicola isn't normally a fan of macaroni cheese but the addition of truffle oil worked well and as a result, I had to share the creamy cheesy mac more than I would have liked. Mushrooms always work well with a good steak and the side of sautéed garlic mushrooms didn't last long as both myself and Nicola couldn't get enough.
By this point we were both feeling rather full - we don't normally do two courses during the week and we were looking forward to getter no home but as we were there to review the menu, we decide to share a pudding. Unsure what to pick, the restaurant manager who was keen for feedback on the chocolate & hazelnut cheesecake with orange salsa and white truffle, convinced us that this was the dessert for us.
We both love cheesecake and this homemade version was very tasty, if not a little confused. The biscuit and toasted hazelnut base was rich and buttery while the cheesecake filling was thick and creamy. The balance of chocolate and hazelnut flavour was about right - too much chocolate and the filling would have been too heavy, too much hazelnut and the flavour would overpower the cheesecake - chef had done a good job balancing the two.
What confused me about this dessert was the orange salsa and orange segments that accompanied the cheesecake. Don't get me wrong, I know that chocolate and orange go very well together but if hazelnut is the additional flavour in the cheesecake, surely the orange would be a distraction? As it turned out, I was wrong. The orange segments were fresh and juicy and helped cut through the creaminess of the cream cheese filling, leaving the mouth feeling fresh and ready for the next bite.
We expected the cheesecake to be a heavy dessert so balanced this by sharing the Spring Berries with berry parfait, strawberry meringue and cherry biscotti. The parfait was packed with flavour and just sweet enough to counter the sharp berries and berry coulis while the strawberry meringue brought a little texture to the plate. Overall this was a fresh and tasty dessert and although the cherry biscotti was very good, I felt that it would have worked better if it had been crumbled over or around the pudding. Didn't stop me finishing the whole lot off though!
To sum up, our dinner at Cocktail & Steaks was for the most part, very good. Yeah, there were a couple of things that didn't float my boat but that doesn't get away from the fact that the starters were great, the truffled mac'n'cheese was as good as I've had and as for the steak..... without doubt, one of the best pieces of meat that we've been lucky enough to eat.
We dined as guests of the restaurant but my review above is an honest account of our experience on the night. Now we just need to dig out the maps and work out the best way to back for that second visit.
I would like to thank the staff and management for their hospitality and generosity and wish them all the best for the future.
Keep up to date with news and offers from Cocktails & Steaks on Facebook and Instagram.


1 comment:

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