Restaurants & Bars 6

Awesome dinner at Gaucho, London

Bigtigger | May 27, 200802:57 AM

Friends in London treated me to dinner Sunday evening at this four-location very upscale Argentinian-themed restaurant - ours was in what I take to be a former office or bank building just off Picadilly: teeming crowds on the streets, but an oasis of calm and sophistication inside.

Efficient reservation checker allows one upstairs through a dark, inviting, slightly mysterious and most alluring (and well air-conditioned, not always true of London) lobby to a huge dining room - again dark and welcoming - with steer skins hung on walls and used as chair backs.

Perky, well-informed waiter upsells in a most genial way - excellent service throughout toothsome dinner, and tremendous food ranging from addictive pan de queijo (somewhat larger and less gooey than buffet versions, intense flavour, dusting of spice on outside - addictive !) and variegated cocktails to start, on to tremendous chorizo served as a whole sausage over charred red pepper, great combo; steaks in various cuts - loved my large filet with bearnaise and rich mashed taters to accompany; then a most meltingly good chocolate mousse cake. All washed down with an Argentinian pinot noir - at 14.5% alcohol it packs a punch but in a light way - sophisticated vintage opens up as one goes along - wish I had the name in my mind.

This place is a keeper for London, where good steaks are a rarity. Expensive but not outrageous, and first-rate value as it delivers in spades (or steers !). You could spend very nearly as much at the now-dreadful Aberdeen/Scotch steak chains and leave feeling extremely disappointed.

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