Sometimes it’s difficult to fit it all in, especially when you order a trio of starters, mains and desserts, but on this occasion my only worry about space was how I was going to squeeze all that delicious food onto one page.
There’s not just meat to talk about either, Gaucho also sports a rather noteworthy interior- housed in an old Methodist church with the original organ still in tact, it’s quite a dramatic setting, and that’s before you spy the cow print covered walls and chairs competing for attention.
After some nice breads and chimichanga, my first dish proper was the ceviche sampler, a real tour de force of succulent seafood. Making up the impressive plate was salmon cured with an avocado dressing, thinly sliced scallop tiraditos, a delicious carpaccio style dish with mango, chilli, red onions and lime, and Ecuadorian ceviche of prawns in a roasted tomato and pepper sauce. It was beautifully presented, ornate and vibrant in colour, but most importantly tasted fantastic.
Following the success of that starter I was feeling confident about my choice of another tasting plate. Succulent marbled skirt, tender flank, and a slab of sirloin. With all this food heaven I’ll admit it’s starting to sound like someone’s final meal, and the beef really was special, as well as generously proportioned. Setting it apart from your usual though, were a couple of lovely marinades taking in smoked garlic, parsley and olive oil as well as ají molido, mild Argentinian dried chilli flakes that were new to me and quite a revelation. On the opposite side of the table was quite a specimen as well, the lomo fillet, 300 grams of mouthwateringly succulent beef that photos can’t really do justice. The sides weren’t half bad either, I’d recommend the humita saltena, a steamed corn dish with roasted pumpkin served in its own husk, but you can’t have steak without chips as well.
I’d like to say it was indecision rather than pure greed, but either way after two trios I had to go for the hattrick of hattricks come the desserts. Dulce de leche cheesecake, chocolate cake stack with raspberry sorbet and a passion fruit tart were all wonderfully executed in their own right. Ricotta and lemon cake topped with poached pink rhubarb and basil cress impressed my companion as well, once he’d confirmed that the rhubarb was from Yorkshire. A special mention as well for the superlative Familia Schroeder ‘Deseado’ a sparkling dessert wine quite like nothing I’ve tried before, tasting almost like a bellini straight out of the bottle.
We wrapped things up as all good nights should, propping up the bar with a couple of proper drinks. And Gaucho’s new bar, only opened a couple of months ago, has plenty of them. We supped on the re-fashioned, a riff on its near namesake with chocolate bitters and a touch of espresso perking up the Woodford reserve. The pommelina, a cachaça based concoction, with muddled citrus fruits was equally rejuvenating.
Every course brought genuine treats for all the senses. I can’t imagine anyone reading the Gaucho menu not wanting to step inside. And once you’re seated the first thing you’ll see is some great big chunks of meat, as the waitress takes you through the cuts on offer. There’s not great complexity in what’s being served, but then why mess with meat with those measurements?