Gaucho is what I would call a steak restaurant for grown-ups. From its sexy mood lighting to the sultry interiors, the black furniture and cow hide chairs, it’s the adult go-to for a decent bit of meat that you know will be well-seasoned and cooked exactly how you desire.
A moment for the eyes to become accustomed was required when I very noisily entered the door at Gaucho Canary Wharf – a storm had been threatening, whipping up the winds on the banks of the Thames and although it was bright, it was bitter and a glass of Argentinian malbec was definitely required straight off.
Gaucho Canary Wharf is a vast space split down the middle, with the long bar and the open kitchen behind. The staff at all Gauchos (all the ones I’ve been to), are always well trained and full of knowledge – equally so whether you’re asking them about their wines or their cuts.
And the vibe is always buzzy, an air of excitement brewing amongst diners who’ve been saving themselves for this big meaty treat. Somehow, it always manages to feel special. And Gaucho believes its fare is the best. A brand who’ve been offering up the finest Argentinian premium black Angus steaks since 1994 hold a lot of credibility – and rightly so.
We start with firey sauteed prawns – the chilli tearing through the tomato sauce – in a good way. Tuna tiradito meanwhile, provides the perfect antidote with its calming coconut milk. A Peruvian dish, the tuna is sliced rather than cubed in a ceviche, and isn’t marinated beforehand. Silky soft in texture, it’s testament to how high quality the tuna is, when it tastes this good.
Having already been presented with the range of meats on offer today, we sink another glass of our very drinkable and recommended bottle of ‘Not Another Lovely Malbec’. And then the mains begin to populate the table – plates of dazzling greens, creamy mash and crispy fries and that big wooden board with the main attraction. We have opted for the churrasco de lomo speciality cut, marinated in garlic and parsley and cooked ‘medium’. The knife cuts through like butter, and the flavours from the meat are nothing short of tremendous. This spiral cut sirloin is pretty damn good.
Far too full for dessert, the preferred option is of the liquid variety. Who can resist the White truffle infused Mortlach 12YO whisky with barrel aged bitters and chocolate?! Err not me. While it knocked me sideways, (that’s day drinking for you!), it’s the most delightful concoction of oaky Speyside single malt with velvety cocoa notes and light yet earthy hints of truffle.
While I could definitely sink a few more of these, it is only 4pm in the afternoon by this point and it’s time to get back out into the real world. Gaucho might be a chain, but the service is always personal and the smell of the steak is saliva inducing as soon as you step in any one of their restaurants.