This period of forced abstinence has made it crystal clear that eating out is our number one pastime. Obviously, the spontaneity isn’t back to pre-lockdown levels and there are contact forms to fill in, social distancing to be done and hands to be sanitised, but we’ll take it. It’s good to be back and we’ll never take it for granted.
Gaucho is probably our fourth or fifth meal out since restrictions lifted, so we were pretty relaxed about being out and about. The restaurant was on the ball with contact forms and hand sanitising on arrival, but once that was done we could almost forget about it. Although tables were appropriately spaced, it didn’t kill the vibe. Almost every table was full and according to our waitress, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme had made a real difference to the early part of the week. The staff seemed as happy as we were to be back.
The last time I ate at Gaucho, it was as a pescatarian and it was brilliant even without sampling the restaurant’s famed steak. This time was all about the meat via some moreish warm cheesy rolls, corn bread and a beautifully balanced dish of perfectly cooked scallops with a silky cauliflower puree and delicious, tangy pickled cauliflower and some tasty lamb empanadas.
Then the beef. Our waitress talked us through the different cuts of which there are eight plus a chateaubriand for sharing, all from Black Angus cattle raised chomping their way through umpteen types of grass on the Pampas. We plumped for sirloin with bearnaise sauce and a ribeye with chimichurri.
The ribeye was one of the best steaks we’ve ever eaten. Ever. Marbled with fat, it was packed with flavour and tasted like beef straight from the top Argentinian drawer. The punchy herb-filled chimichurri enhanced it brilliantly. The sirloin was wonderfully charred on the outside and pink inside and was all kinds of lip-smackingly good with a dreamy bearnaise sauce. We recommend not sharing a pot of chips. They are so damn good, you’ll definitely want your own.
A word to the wise – even the restaurant’s small steaks (300g) are really generous and we honestly couldn’t have managed any more. A Journey’s End Chardonnay slipped down nicely from a wine list that’s well put together, featuring some fine Argentinian varieties as you’d expect. The restaurant isn’t cheap even with the PM’s scheme, but sometimes/often you get what you pay for and Gaucho feels just that.
Finally… while we’re sure our readers are far too classy to pull a no-show, here’s a friendly reminder that if you’re making a booking anywhere in the city please either honour it and enjoy or phone ahead and cancel. Don’t be that person!