The particular Gaucho we visited was in the heart of one of London`s premier restaurant and luxury eatery areas, Piccadilly Circus. On the rather quaint and vibrant Swallow Street you will find this gem and let me tell you now, it`s a real treat.
This up market Argentinian steak house chain oozes class, elegance and charm from the moment you walk through the door. A dark, softly lit three floor building, the restaurant welcomes hundreds of happy diners every evening. It is certainly popular and I have to say it really warranted this popularity. Also, I can`t stop thinking about their steaks since I left, is that bad?
The menu is an exploration of Argentine cuisine and in particular the country`s ability to produce some of the finest beef in the world. The starters and Ceviche options are alight way to usher you into this South American exploration.
The Argentine King Prawns, sautéed with garlic and lemon, served with sweet plantain, guacamole(£12.95), is a great way to begin. The classic combination of lemon, garlic and King prawn is given a fun twist with the Guacaole and sweet plaintain. For something more hearty, the Beef Tamales is a more rustic option to get you on your way. A blend of our four prime cuts braised slowly with cumin, tomato and chilli, with a polenta base served in a corn husk (£8.95)
It does however feel that a starter here is just a warm up for the main event, as the steaks and quality cuts on offer are of the highest order. Before you order, you are presented with a wooden board of the steaks on offer here, this is accompanied by an informing explanation of the cuts and how they are best served. This is also very useful for those who want a steak but who are struggling to visualise the various gram cuts.
My partner selected the Churrasco de Lomo, a spiral cut Fillet, marinated for 48 hours in garlic, parsley and olive oil (400g, £43.65). If you are feeling a little flush and in the mood for a treat, I would certainly recommend this cut. It melts like butter and has a tremendous flavour, thanks the extensive marinating process. This is a brilliant cut for those who shy away from marbled and potentially fatty steaks.
However, my Rib-eye was utterly gorgeous. The delicate marbling throughout it gives full-bodied flavour during cooking and this results in a gloriously intense taste (400g, £27.40). Although, not as dainty as the fillet, the intense flavour and the fact it was perfectly cooked resulted in a more enjoyable offering in my opinion. But with both steaks you can really understand the difference between Argentian beef and the more common American and British cuts here in the UK. The Argentines seems to get every last drop out their meat and it translates at Gaucho into a wonderful dining experience.
The range of accompanying sides adds another dimension to the meal here; but one of the other (and quite honestly less expected) highlights was the traditional `Humita`. Originating from Salta in Argentina, this side stunningly combines roasted pumpkin and sweet corn. It sounds so simple, but the flavour combination is to die for.
The Gaucho wine collection and fine wine collection is vast and eclectic – if there is a wine you want then I am sure it can be found here. I plumped for the stunning Argentinian Malbec Vina Partricia 2010, which hails from the restaurants own 80-year-old vineyards. The perfect drink to accompany my juicy Rib Eye.
Gaucho is simply a steak haven and I would recommend it to anyone.
See where your nearest Gaucho is here: http://www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk/
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