The Bountiful Cow

Tucked away behind Red Lion Square glows a red neon sign that doesn’t do justice to the pub it represents. Fortunately the typical association of neon signs and tacky tourist joints that fail to deliver on both atmosphere and food doesn’t apply to The Bountiful Cow. Better yet, it’s out of the way location means that the place errs on the side of bustling, rather than bursting on a Friday evening. I guess most people know about it through word of mouth.

The Bountiful Cow’s beef-centric theme runs strong throughout their ground floor dining room, that also acts as the main bar for those just drinking. They also apparently have a room downstairs but I never made it down to validate that fact. The walls are mostly bare except for hanging retro movie posters all with some sort of beef-related title such as “Mad Cows” or “Cattle Drive”. It’s something that should be too cheesy yet I think they still manage to pull off a contemporary look. Their bright downlights probably help as do the small button-like seats by the bar, and the glass doored fridge at the entrance showcasing the cuts of meat from the menu (with the largest buger patty I’ve ever seen).

We started with the (£7) rillettes of duck (a cool terrine of slowly cooked shredded duck, with toast) and the (£7.50) sphardic pate (chopped chicken liver, onion, eggs and aubergines, with toast). The pate was a generous serve, rich and very tasty with the toast and served with tiny gherkins skewered to toothpicks. However I have to recommend the rillettes of duck to anyone that eats here. I could still sense each individual of fibre of meat with each mouthful yet it also was perfectly melt in the mouth soft and jam packed with flavours. We all agreed that it was so good that we ordered a second helping to share between the four of us.

For our main meal, we all decided to go for steaks despite the look of the king-sized burger. Apparently Mike had been here before and experienced an overcooked steak, and out of fear of a repeat performance we asked for one steaks to be done one level down from what we all normally preferred (rare instead of medium rare for me). It was a good thing we did this as well since it came out perfectly cooked, moist and full of flavour. My 310g sirloin steak (£16.50) came with a serve of chips and a choice of sauces (bernaise or peppercorn) or melted goats cheese although the fillet steak comes with field mushrooms and focaccia instead of the chips. The steak really hit the spot and I thought the price was fairly reasonable for a steak that big (confirmed by the waitress as coming from some part of Scotland)

Desperate for some more greens, I ordered a side salad (£4) and for the price I expected something much grander than a bowl of simply green leaves and a creamy white dressing sitting in a bowl nested at its centre. Frankly I don’t understand why steakhouses continually overcharge for something that costs them so little and I regret ordering it.

My only other dish I regretted ordering was the creme brulee (£5.50) Vanessa and I ordered. It looked promising but a single spoonful and I knew immediately it wasn’t one of the better ones I’ve had. Its texture lacked the consistent smoothness I’d expect in a set custard, instead noticeably chunkier than it should be. It also didn’t really help that they had set the blow torch too much on the top and many parts of the sugar toffee crust had become too bitter. I’d stick with just the steak next time.

As far as steak places go, I’d definitely return to The Bountiful Cow since it’s so central, has that unique atmosphere and what they focus on as their mains, they did really well. I heard they even have jazz music on Saturday evenings for free that might be worth sitting and listening to for a while.

Name: The Bountiful Cow
Found at: 51 Eagle Street, WC1R 4AP
Contactable on: 020 7404 0200 or Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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