22nd July 2010
Slick, modern and supremely sexy – every inch the Latina lady – Gaucho Grill is the place to be, especially during the London summer heat.
Tucked away in the beating heart of the City, you would be mistaken for thinking you were entering a very exclusive club, as you sashay down the tunnel of steps from the street level. When you arrive in the restaurant proper, you wake up and realize you have died and gone to carnivore Valhalla – scores of waiters scurry around carrying huge chopping boards of prime meat on their shoulders, flitting between tables, showing their wares to the discerning clientele of this bustling joint.
The dining space is cavernous and dimly lit, making it somewhat tricky to navigate if you’ve had a skin full. And the seats are upholstered in cow skin (it’s never real, is it?) are sensuous, if a little tickly to sit on. It is quite the spot for lovers about town, but lends itself just as easily to families and groups of work colleagues, provided everybody has 20:20 vision.
You must order wine; the list is extensive and exclusively Argentinean so may prove a baptism of fire for some punters. Why not dive in, head first, with no clothes on? We had Shiraz, from the Syrah grape, which promised earthy flavours with guts and this pristine scarlet nectar did not disappoint, it gilded us for the night.
We began with the Ecuadorian ceviche – prawns marinated in lime and roasted tomato – and king scallop traditos – sliced and served with a citrus and coconut dressing – which were wholly unexciting. The main act, however, was yet to come. As our waitress began walking towards the table, the cries of the rancheros out on the Argentine plains rang in my ears like a siren’s call. The steaks (sirloin for me and Fillet for C) melted on the tongue, the scent of the smoky grill lingering on each cut as would perfume on a tossed Tea Dress.
We opted for ladies portions, but if you’re feeling man (and flush) enough you can order the Gaucho sampler, whereby you can try all four cuts of prime Argentine beef (rump, Sirloin, Fillet and Rib – eye), weighing in at a hefty 1200g and stinging the wallet for £82.
Dessert was unashamedly self – indulgent, most notably for the Dulche de Leche cheesecake and Malbec ice cream, which accompanied the Pavlova. Post-coital cigar was, alas, not forthcoming.
Jokes aside, Gaucho works hard and has really tapped into the glamour of 1930’s Buenos Aires. You can almost imagine the glitterati of the time reveling here, it adds a vibrant Latin charge to the Capital’s post-recession restaurant scene. If you fancy a great steak and a great bottle of wine, the Gaucho is certainly recommended. Just steer clear of the pointless starters.
In summing up the dining experience, my dining partner turned to me and said ‘I just feel sorry for the vegetarians’. I couldn’t of put it better myself, hombre.
By Linda Cooke – Eat me.
Gaucho Grill (City)
1 Bell Inn Yard