Back in the mid-2000s, when Gaucho opened its first branch outside London, we used to come here quite often. We don’t eat a lot of steak but, when we do, we want top quality and that’s what Gaucho seemed to offer. But we drifted away and haven’t been back since 2010, in recent times preferring Hawksmoor just down Deansgate. However, after a couple of poor meals there, we decided to give Gaucho another try.
To start for one us, there was beetroot tartare. Finely chopped vegetable, much as the beef version would be, with the usual egg yolk replaced by mango puree. It sits on diced avocado, and there’s a rather bland buttermilk dressing. It was all OK but it lacked the piquancy from capers and Worcestershire sauce that you’d expect to get in the meat version. The other starter was tuna ceviche. A small portion of diced fish, avocado puree, pickled radish and a dressing which the menu advertised as having chilli but that couldn’t be detected. This wasn’t actively unpleasant but, frankly, it had nothing to recommend it by way of flavour. I don’t often mention prices when I’m writing about meals but, at £13, they really see you coming with this one.
For main courses, we both went with sirloins which were cooked accurately as requested and had a decent flavour. The menu suggests that all sides are extras but we were asked if we wanted chips or salad – presumably a change that the menu hasn’t caught up with yet. That’ll be one of each please. Chips were fine and the rocket & kale salad was nicely dressed. We also ordered a béarnaise sauce which was spot on for the amount of tarragon. We also ordered a portion of mac & cheese which was disappointing in its lack of cheese flavour and, like everything else we’d eaten (except the salad), was underseasoned
We didn’t fancy dessert but did finish with good espresso. But, it really hadn’t been a great evening.