I promise you, we didn’t talk about dressing up in monochrome! But it was quite hilarious as we matched Gaucho’s black-and-white interiors. Quite rightly, the birthday girl stood out in an awesome pop of blue.
On to the food then.
The bread basket is complimentary here but I’d happily pay if I had to. The traditional South American pao de queijo balls were crusty outside with a soft, cheesy and oniony interior. The flat grilled bread pieces, which resembled halloumi, had a semi-hard cheese like texture but tasted like thick buttery crepes. The bread was so moreish we had to stop ourselves for fear of getting full.
A server gave us a rundown of steak cuts on offer: ancho (rib-eye), lomo (fillet), cuadril (rump) and chorizo (sirloin). He also advised a bit on how each cut is best served.
I didn’t know which cut I was in the mood for so I ordered the trio of medalions (£27.20) which had cuts of the fillet, the rib-eye and the rump at 100g per piece. I asked if they can cook each cut at different temperatures: rare for fillet and rump, medium rare for rib-eye. The server said of course, they aim to please.
The rump is the leanest cut and it’s never nice to chew on good beef so I’ve asked to have the piece rare. My cut didn’t really have that springy bounce when I poked it with my knife so it wasn’t surprising when I saw this after first slice…
A few minutes later, I had the most amazing piece of rump. Just look at this gorgeous thing! (Yes, we got to keep the other piece, too.)
The flavour was quite a pleasant surprise. The cooking really made a difference and seriously, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed rump like this.
We ordered sides across the table and quite frankly most of them are forgettable. I warn you now: do not get the domino potatoes, they put confit potatoes to great shame! The only side I quite liked was the sweet potato chips with chorizo (£5). The chips were twice cooked so they were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I love how the sweetness works with the salty chorizo pieces.
Most of us ordered steaks save for Kuya D who had the Gaucho burger (£15.50). It wasn’t exactly the most photogenic of burgers. Served on a brioche bun, the patty itself looked miniscule, topped with a stingy serving of cheese and the saddest looking bacon strip I’ve seen in a restaurant. Kuya D said it was just okay and I think for the price he could’ve had more. At least it came with chips.
I was expecting a Jaffa Cake-like deconstruction and boy was I wrong. It wasn’t a sponge/biscuit based cake, but a chocolate mousse topped with white chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream, served with two wedges of orange on a plate smeared with ‘chocolate sauce’ that was probably wrongly tempered. You don’t really get the orange flavour from the mousse itself, but to be fair it was good enough if you’re not too picky (I am).
Admittedly, you can probably find restaurants where you can get a better meal on the cheap, but when they do their steaks right, Gaucho really is not bad. I paid a bit over £50 that night for my share but I think those rare cuts of melt-in-your-mouth fillet and rump were so worth it.
Oh and of course, the company was smashing too.