1st June 2010
Rob Virtue finds a popular venue still strong in Westferry.
It has long styled itself as the venue of choice for meat-loving fine diners. And the carnivorous hordes of the Wharf have tended to agree.
Argentinean steakhouse Gaucho Canary has carved out a deservedly successful reputation for itself in these parts. The restaurant at Canary Riverside by Westferry is one of 11 in the capital. Although each similar inside, the Wharf’s venue benefits from sweeping views along the river giving it a relaxed environment.
We started off with cocktails. The refreshing grape-based flor de uva and the virgin fizz set the evening off on the right note. As for the starters, the king scallop, served cold with chilli, mango and a citrus dressing, was tasty but could have come in a bigger portion, while the empanadas, which arrive in twos were perhaps too hefty.
With the meat, unsurprisingly there was no complaint. Both the bife de lomo (£37.50) and the churrasco (£28.50) were cooked perfectly and of such good quality its plain why they see no need to give you a steak knife. It has been said, though, that the béarnaise sauce was a rather bland accompaniment, especially compared to the infinitely superior mustard.
The sides of spinach (£3.25) and roasted new potatoes with cheddar cheese (£3.25) struggled to inspire. The mixed tomato salad (£4.75), however, was top class.
A glass of Colome de Terruno (£10.50, an un-oaked Malbec from Northern Argentina, worked fantastically with the mains and it was rounded off with a succulent dessert of banana ice cream (£6.50).
But high quality steaks and decent accompaniments are probably not enough to keep you on top in an area such as Canary Wharf, with its constantly evolving restaurant scene.
Equally the Gaucho’s waiters displaying a selection of uncooked meat for customers before they order could be seen more as a gimmick than a useful aid. But the parading of the prime cuts is just part of the performance by this restaurants entertaining and skilled staff.
Its clear to see that the management here has invested a lot of time and training in its workforce and this is an often overlooked area of restaurants across the capital.
Over the course of the evening, four different staff members introduced themselves to us while we were there, which could have been annoying if they weren’t so friendly and helpful.
During a busy part of the evening there was always time for each customer. It’s the personal attention, alongside the winning steak recipe, that should ensure gaucho remains a popular destination.