“right venue for a special night out”
Gaucho offers a decent steak experience with its contemporary and elegant atmosphere. Having been to a few other Gaucho restaurants in London, Broadgate is the one which deserves a special mention.
The word gaucho – if you are curious – could be described as a loose equivalent to the North American “cowboy” (vaquero, in Spanish). If it is your first time, as you talk to reception you ask yourself if it’s the right venue. It looks more like a small “city” bar without any sign of steaks. Confusion usually lasts only a few minutes and you end up in a glass lift on your way down to lower ground. Actually ground level terrace offers a great opportunity to have a glass of champagne before your dinner, especially on special occasions.
Gaucho’s Broadgate restaurant is quite spacious and airy and you don’t feel like you are under the ground thanks to intelligent design which lets the day light in. At night the modern decor and lighting makes the venue even better. As soon as you walk in, cowhide chairs set the scene; almost reminding the purpose of you being there. While trying to get your head around the tall but narrow menu pages, a plate of breads served. Two types of breads – one each for every guest. Now, the important bit, one of the breads is almost the usual brown bread, however the other one is a cheese bread (or cheese puff – originally called Pao de Queijo) that you should not miss.
After you order your drinks – more about Gaucho wines later – you are presented with a board of raw steaks (which you can opt out if you have seen it already). A member of staff gives information about different cuts and dishes Gaucho offers. It is definitely worth listening to if you are new to proper steak action. Listening to this intro quite a few times – thanks to several friends who has been with me for the first time – it feels a bit scripted and it might not always be possible to get detailed answers if you further ask about steak related details. They might choose to play safe and tell you that rib eye would not be recommended medium-rare due to the fat content. Very well but ignore this comment if you like your rib-eye medium rare. Again, it is a good intro for a starter.
Gaucho’s mainly offers lomo (fillet), ancho (rib-eye), chorizo (sirloin) and cuadril (rump) in 225g, 300g and 400g servings – both names are written on the menu. 225g is only available for fillet and rump, 300g is usually a good portion for a lunch or dinner and 400g is there to go if you feel really hungry or keen to skip desert. All cuts are also offered as a “marinated” variety. I usually find it hard to leave my usual, native cuts however they are equally good if you would like to try something different.
Gaucho has a very good understanding of rare, medium-rare and medium – I didn’t try anything more well-done. Your steak is always come sufficiently cooked – but not over cooked – with a beautiful charring on the outside. They are always juicy , full of taste and very tender making it obvious that they have been sufficiently matured. Gaucho does not serve much with the steak itself so you need to order your sides – and pay for them – as you like. I think this is a common practice in most decent steak restaurants these days and I really like to have my steak not buried under a big pile of chunky chips. Your taste might be different but I recommend potato puree and spinach with garlic and lemon as sides.
Wines – by the way – is another speciality of Gaucho’s. Upon arrival you are presented with a wine menu and a “fine and rare” wine menu (which I only see for the last couple of years). If you are a Malbec fun like I do Gaucho has lots to offer. Different varieties of Mendoza Valley are the must haves. The staff has sufficient but limited knowledge of wines. Again it usually sounds a bit prescribed and they come across more like knowledgeable waiters and waitresses rather than sommeliers. They usually offer you a wine – or alternative if your selection is unavailable – however they don’t usually talk about specifics of each wine. A year and half ago Gaucho went through a long period of “changing their wine menu” where most stuff on it was unavailable. It seems like this has been sorted out in recent days.
I find Gaucho’s reasonably priced compared to the similar restaurants in London. Service is professional yet quite friendly most of the time. You are not asked to pay an optional service charge however you usually end up leaving a similar amount or more after the decent service. It is highly recommended.
Great for – a special occasion with another steak lover, a slightly prolonged business lunch, a Friday night treat.
Top tip – resist to the temptation and do not keep ordering more bread, although they are lovely you will need the space for the steak.
Try this – Don Pedro for desert, a perfect combination of ice cream, whiskey and walnuts. Definitely go for vanilla flavour.