If like me, for some unknown reason Gaucho has managed to escape your weekly ‘must visit’ restaurant list then its time to change it.
Gaucho is one of those restaurants that is synonymous with good quality food, you know what you’re getting and that is most definitely not a bad thing.
Quite possibly one of the most passionate restaurant brands in the world with belief and joy in its Argentine roots, Gaucho pays homage to this through its excellent cuisine, wine, ambiance and staff. Everything about Gaucho is a treat. From the hefty price tags that come with the menu to the dimly lit interior, quirky furnishings and wealth of clientele, it’s one of those few venues that really comes alive as the night progresses, the music gets just a smidgen louder, the glasses chink just that little bit more and every corner is dotted with diners having nothing less than a jolly good time.
The Dubai branch of Gaucho is located in DIFC, a mecca for hungry financiers and lawyers joined by the fashionable media set after sundown. It’s all very glamorous in true Gaucho style, from the underground valet, central glass elevator to the mezzanine lounge area that hangs over the restaurant below, it’s sophisticated without being pretentious. No wonder everyone loves Gaucho.
With a long, narrow terrace you can even dine al fresco when the weather permits, but in my opinion the fun happens inside. Gaucho is just fabulous for people spotting.
Of course, we could go on about the electric atmosphere all day long but the real reason the masses flock to the hotspot is for the food. Boasting the same international menu as other locations although I was pleased to notice culling of some of my favourite Gaucho dishes (potato puree, creamed spinach and sweet potato fries) hadn’t quite reached the Middle East yet, this is a restaurant for serious meat lovers. Don’t visit if your idea of a good meal is pushing salad around on your plate. Although they do offer very good salads.
Gaucho is all about the steak. With helpful and extremely knowledgeable staff on hand to show you and explain to you the different meat cuts ahead of choosing, you are in good hands. The smallest weight on the menu is 225g and comes in a fillet, rib-eye or rump and ranges up to a whopping 800g for the Cinta de Ancho, a spiral cut, slow grilled chunk of meat with chimichurri.
I opted for a lean and tender 225g fillet, cooked medium (shamelessly) and topped off with a tangy Bearnaise sauce and my dining companion opted to sample the 400g sirloin,a tender yet succulent steak with a strip of juicy crackling doused in peppercorn sauce.To accompany our meat feast we chose a selection of sides from the wide menu, opting for hand cut chips with truffle oil and chives (I would have dined here for these alone), potato puree with truffle butter, sauteed french beans and asparagus which came grilled with pan fried quail egg and cheesy Parmesan.
I was interested to note Gaucho Dubai also offers special cuts on the menu, completely unique to Gaucho. the Gaucho Tasting Plate which I spied a nearby diner devouring looked delicious, offering a taste of three of the most popular cuts – chorizo, ancho and oicana at 450g and 300g respectively.
Now, you’ll note that I have gone straight to the meat without even mentioning the starters. Steak is the focal part of Gaucho,it’ll be the first thing you look at when you pick up one of their heavy, leather menus and it will be the thing you recommend to your friends. That’s not to say that this is all the menu has to offer, quite the contrary.
The variety of ceviche and starters on offer was quite frankly worrying. Worrying in the way that you are concerned you’ll be full before you even touch your meaty main.
For seafood lovers, the tuna ceviche is sublime. Toasted sesame seeds, spring onions, orange, cucumber and a wasabi and soy dressing complete this cold entree. We opted for a selection of starters to share, most probably subconsciously to spread the eating. Our choice consisted of Chorizo sausage which has become my starter of choice when dining in Gaucho restaurants around the world. It’s a mouth-wateringly delicious Argentine beef chorizo (Gaucho’s own) served on a bed of confit peppers and pickled red onion. To offset all the red meat, we also feasted on the Chilli and Coconut Rock Shrimp with coriander seed, paprika, mango and ginger puree and pickled jalapenos as well as Argentine King Prawns which had been oven baked in spiced garlic butter.
If you can still manage desert, you’ll definitely want to try. There are so many delicious dishes it will be harrowing to pick. The Salted Dulce de Leche and Hazelnut Cheesecake is an obvious choice with fluffy coconut Italian meringue, salted dulce, chocolate milk and marbled chocolate shard and for non-chocolate lovers the grilled pineapple complete with chilli and cardamon syrup served with coconut ice cream is a refreshing, light dish to top off your hearty meal perfectly.
Another thing that Gaucho is also great for is cocktails. Classics sit alongside contemporary twists and make for great accompaniments to both the food and delicate red wines that you’ll want to enjoy with your steak. Our recommendations chosen especially for us by the expert in-house sommelier are starting off your meal with a glass of sparkling Norton Perdriel 2012, followed by an acidic, floral and fresh Torrontes originating from the Spanish region of Galicia such as Susana Balbo Crios 2013 and to accompany your main a traditional Pinot Noir such as the Familia Schroeder Saurus 2012, a light and fresh yet complex and earthy intense red that will see you through to desert.
If you haven’t been to Gaucho Dubai yet, the only question is, why not?
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