Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dans le noir at Gaucho's

After the sumptuous elegance of the art deco foyer of Claridge's we arrive at the curvy cow seating and chandelier encrusted glamorous Gaucho Piccadilly with a keen appetite. This one is split into a bar - restaurant - bar/restaurant sandwich and I believe a wine cave, but we only visited three of the four floors.
We started on the ground floor in the cow bedecked bar with another Kir Royale and then ascended to the restaurant with yet more cow and more chandeliers though curiously seemingly dull chandeliers as it was surprisingly dark. This darkness got me thinking about Dans le Noir where it is supposed to be dark in fact it's apparently a totally pitch black restaurant. the concept being that the lack of one sense enhances the others and you can really taste your food and enjoy a more unencumbered meal without the preconceptions of sight getting in the way. The waiters are blind so they don't stumble around and trip over sending your dinner into your lap as a sighted waiter may in the dark but act as your much more experienced eyes instead. I've yet to try this place yet but I'm beginning to suspect that many other restaurants are experimenting with a similar concept or they are just trying to save on the electricity, Gaucho Piccadilly included.
T and I both give our usual order to the waitress forgoing a starter in favour of the gorgeous cheese bread followed by the spiral cut steak with a peppercorn sauce (for a change!) and baked potato for me and the chicken and fat chips for T. We ordered still water and a nice bottle of white wine. That done we could examine the décor, discuss our shiny purchases from today and then slowly begin to wonder what had happened to our drinks. We have cheese bread - very good, but no drinks - not so good!
The restaurant manager miraculously recognised our drink free state in the gloom (clearly he'd eaten plenty of carrots!) and rushed over to rectify this condition immediately. He also found out how much we adore their cheese bread and kindly brought a couple more of the just-from-the-oven cheesy rolls as an apology for our lack of drinks , very good indeed!
The spiral cut steak was as delicious and perfectly cooked as it always was with a nice sauce (not as wonderful as the foie gras or the béarnaise but fine) and we split the potatoes so we could both have a few fat chips.
After sharing a portion of the ever so rich chocolate truffle cake in the steadily increasing gloom (the dark slab of chocolateness served on a glass plate on a black table almost made it disappear entirely) we are trying to decide what to do next when the manager suggests we check out the top floor (which T had just suggested anyway) so we ascend further into what they call a 'supper lounge' which open until much later for our delictation. We enjoy a further round of Kir Royales in yet another opulent Gaucho bar and just when we think of being good girls and leaving our friendly neighbourhood restaurant manager swings by with (you've guessed it) another round of Kir Royales. We may have been left wanting for drinks at the beginning of our evening but I have to admit our ever so attentive manager kept us well lubricated for the rest of the evening. And no, we didn't take him up on his kind offer to go on, there's only so many Kir Royales a girl can take! But it was a very nice of him to offer.
A fabulous evening, delicious food and copious drinks but next time, maybe I'll take a torch!

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