Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another day, another Gaucho

I am continuing to achieve my aim to visit all the Gaucho Grills and got to visit my second one today, the Broadgate Circle one. It was particularly handy for the client I was lunching with and in fact I pass it each time I visit them and have been intrigued by its iceberg type appearance. The 'tip' being a glass box containing a large square cow but all the action takes place below ground accessed by a fabulous glass lift which seems very Thunderbirds or maybe even Barbarella. There are stairs, but they’re no fun at all!

The inner sanctum is extravagantly decked out with deep red purple walls, a myriad of crystal chandeliers and the ubiquitous cow hide swivel chairs in which you can spin around and examine Gaucho's in all its meat lover’s glory. I had the momentary panic that yet again I'd dragged strictly vegetarian clients to such a meat fest, but everyone eschewed starters in favour of steak so I needn’t have worried.

Our waitress bought us out a large platter of the available cuts of steak which is possibly why all possible thoughts of starter flew out of the window. We had to choose from:

BIFE DE CUADRIL Rump – a uniquely lean and flavourful cut

BIFE DE CHORIZO Sirloin – with a belt of tasty crackling

BIFE DE LOMO Fillet – the tenderest cut of all

BIFE ANCHO Rib eye – a marbled sirloin with a tender skirt

And a new one to me the CHURRASCO ’CUTS’ - choice of cuts, spiral cut and marinated CHORIZO, LOMO and CUADRIL which is marinated with parsley and garlic.

My first thought was if LLcoolT were here and been presented with the platter he would have asked for the whole lot, but of course there's always the Gaucho sampler then you get to try all four.

I decided that I’d try one of the spiral cuts steaks as I was fascinated by the cut and what it would do to the flavour. After the tip from T our my last trip, I was very keen to get my hands on straight from the oven cheese bread and our waitress promised to deliver some from the next batch. I know that the fat chips are excellent so I decided to tempt fate and try the potato purée alongside the grilled mushrooms and grilled asparagus with alioli.

The spiral cut steak was a revelation, it was so tender, so juicy and an excellent flavour. It went excellently with the béarnaise sauce and the mushrooms and asparagus. The potato purée was okay, better when missed with the béarnaise sauce but I so should have stuck to the exemplary fat chips. When will I learn, if it isn’t broke why fix it? The asparagus was delicious but a little sparse for the three of us, four spears amongst three, interesting portion control! The waitress did eventually get us some just baked cheese bread rolls but not until we were mopping up the last of the béarnaise with the last mouthfuls of steak so we decided to save a space for some dessert instead.

We had held ourselves back for a little spot of dessert to round the meal off perfectly but our waitress after the late arrival of the cheese bread has unfortunately utterly disappeared and whenever she is glimpsed she can’t be compelled to come in our direction. When she turns up with a big smile and the menus to take our dessert orders we unfortunately have to admit that we’ve now run out of time. A and W have some tea and coffee and our waitress kindly takes this off our bill but personally I would have preferred a little mouthful of something sweet maybe chocolaty or lemony.

I have mixed feelings about this Gaucho Grill, the steak is obviously prefect, the mash – well I will know better for next time, the décor was fabulous – who would have thought the chandeliers and cowhide combo but today the service was not too hot.
Last time I ate in a Gaucho I awarded it the high accolade of three forks, this time I think it would be only in between one and two, which is such a shame. I think we were a little unlucky on this visit, but service is very important especially when entertaining clients and even though I cannot criticise the steak, other things could be improved.
There are eight Gaucho’s in London and one in Manchester so two down seven to go.
It will be most interesting to see what happens on my next meaty visit, watch this space.

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