We visited Gauchos on the spur of the moment after a long day of work and a celebratory catch up. We have always tried to avoid Gaucho having thought of it as a pretentious steak house although I secretly wanted to go to satisfy our curiosity as well as the fact I could be less of a hypocrite once I had been to try and test it. I think personally Faringdon was a good choice of location for me as it is less trendy and full of people who actually enjoy good steaks and good wine – I mean who doesn’t.
Anyway we walked through the heavy glass doors and were greeted by the receptionist who found us a seat opposite the kitchen. I like to see the kitchen when i’m in a restaurant as I find that it shows honesty about their food and cooking as well as the fire being warming and adding to the business of the place.
Gauchos are renown for being dark and the Farringdon place was no different but it was cosy and warming in a way. We were welcomed by a eastern European waitress who asked if we had all been to Gaucho. I wanted to pretended as though I had as I cannot be patient when they give their pre scripted speech but unfortunately my fellow diner said she hadn’t before I had a chance to nod. Damn! So this entailed a dramatically prolonged performance that I am sure every diner (and therefore most readers) have had to sit through where they patronisingly explain the cuts of meat while holding a wooden board with different cuts on their shoulder. Dinners can do nothing other than awkwardly nod and smile in appreciation. I hated every second of that.
After that ordeal we looked at the menu and chose the starters and cuts of meats that we actually wanted. We ordered the Ecuadorian cheviche, the raw tuna dish and the king prawns with black pudding. These came out quickly; the cheviche was light, fresh and tasty with onion, coriander and tomato to beef up. The tuna was cooked rare and sliced thinly; this was served with wasabi and avocado which worked very well as a complement to the dish. I ordered the prawns and these were served with the rich black pudding. I liked the fact that they changed the seafood to prawns which is usual scallops which can often can be over powered. We were happy and looked forward to our main courses.
Do not fear, throughout we were being topped up with white wine (white at Gaucho I hear you cry – our colleague likes white and I like alcohol so I am not going to moan)
For main course we ordered two sirloins and two rumps, these we ordered with creamy spinach, fries and carrots. The steaks I have to admit were cooked to perfection; I like mine rare and my colleague medium/rare and both were certainly that. The peppercorn sauce was light and not too rich, the carrots were glazed but al dente and the spinach was nice although slightly over cooked and the creamy sauce was a little too watery. Overall we were satisfied. The food was cleared away quickly and I have to say the waiting standard is high – if not overly done if you ask me.
Our drinks were constantly topped up, we were asked ‘how is the food’ at least once a course and menu items explained in too great a detail that it ended up seeming patronising. Despite this the service was very professional and friendly.
I really liked this place and am a little grieved to admit, yes the Hawksmoor is less pretentious but the food is good. If they cut the OTT serving staff and all of the stage’ry, I would give this place top mark, but due to the patronising performances, too attentive staff and the ‘playing it safe’ menu; Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:
Food Atmosphere Service