When entering a restaurant with a reputation as meaty as Gaucho Group’s, it’s all too easy to fill up on the metaphorical amuse-bouche of notoriety. After all, with well-seasoned reputation comes hearty expectation. But – in interest of writing an honest and unbiased review – I set aside the flavoursome recommendations accrued and instead cleansed my mental palette with feigned ignorance…
For those who have escaped the unrelenting gluttony of Gaucho’s entice, allow me to explain its USP: Beef. Argentinian beef, to be exact. And lots of it. Wear something loose and expect an extensive menu.
As the flagship venue with an undeniably-central location, Gaucho Piccadilly attracts a diverse clientele of pre-SoHo dwelling city types, first date attendees, nervous meet-the-parent foursomes and congregation upon congregation of smug employees (jovially sipping and supping on the company account).
Abandoning my earlier belief that one should arrive with a clear and unbiased mind, this is an institution that celebrates beef in all its glory, so I fully urge you give in to its allure and indulge. The menu offers Argentinian rump, sirloin, rib-eye and fillet, with some prepared to classic Southern American culinary styles; think chimichurri and ají molido.
Once seated in your hide-upholstered chair (yes, there really is no escaping the bovine-appreciation), waiters and waitresses approach, yielding meat-laden boards and an unwavering bank of knowledge. Ready to talk you through each cut and diminish any apprehension on the well-done / medium / rare argument, their expertise lies in determining the best cut to complement your cooking-level preferences.
We order ribeye and rump, the former marinated in chimichurri and the later basted for 48 hours in garlic, parsley and olive oil. To complement, we order sides of beef-dripping chips and roasted butternut squash.
Debunking the beef-only myth (and proving that you are not in Entrecôte) Gaucho honours its geographical roots with the variety of ceviche that peppers the menu. A trio-sampler is ordered as an appetiser, providing a fresh and citric start to what promises to be a mighty feast.
Glancing around while we await our starters, the dim-lit, chandelier-clad restaurant exudes a decidedly chic, New York vibe. The aforementioned cow hides not only adorn chairs, but also railings, walls and even doors. An interior choice that’s more meat-eater’s mecca than vegan’s paradise. Boldly masculine and extremely aware of itself, the restaurant’s interior perfectly complements the menu’s beefy bravado.
Wine is poured at the recommendation of our waitress, an Argentinian malbec of course. Despite its rich heartiness, the choice of wine pairs just was well with my the delicate ceviche starter as it does with my immense slab of ribeye. Cooked to perfection, it renewed all appreciation for – and firmly halted my pursuit of – the perfect steak.
It seems clichéd and too much like an easy option to declare this famous steakhouse a winner in the steak category, but these people, from the bar tenders to the chefs, maître ds and waiting staff, really do know what they’re doing.
25 Swallow Street
Tel: 020 7734 4040
Written by Jodie Jones