Set among concrete office blocks on the quieter, northern end of Charlotte Street, the Fitzrovia outpost of the Gaucho chain has always been a buzzy medialand haunt par excellence. It’s got a whole lot more on-trend thanks to a recent eco-makeover to mark its 25th anniversary.
Gone are the trademark black-and-white fixtures, shiny surfaces and cowhide seating, replaced instead with earthy tones and textured walls designed to evoke the pampas of Argentina and the modern spirit of real gauchos (Argentine cowboys/girls). We can’t help missing the cowhide, though we have to admit that the lighting is a lot better these days.
It’s not just the decor that’s changed in the revamp – Gaucho’s whole concept has been overhauled to become more socially and environmentally conscious. From employing people deemed ‘unemployable’ to improving its carbon footprint, installing sockets for remote workers and welcoming dogs, Gaucho 2.0 marks a distinct change in creative direction.
Loyal diners need not fear though – the new owners are keen to stay true to the brand’s DNA with a menu based firmly around modern Argentinian cuisine. Steaks still take centre stage and are available in a variety of cuts and weights, from melt-in-the mouth lomo (fillet) to traditional churrascaria (a marinated spiral cut).
For steak enthusiasts, there’s a brand-new four-seater ‘beef bar’ where diners can watch and interact with the chefs as they deliver tartare, carpaccio and a variety of specials and new dishes and even cook their own steak, though we preferred to let the chef prepare ours medium rare as requested. A spicy fish chimichurri was our favourite sauce, although a light-handed sprinkling of salt truly does the meat justice.
New menu items include the likes of Atlantic cod with garlic and herb half-lobster, spatchcock chicken and beetroot risotto. The menu rounds off with the likes of sweet, creamy dulce de leche cheesecake. Pre- or post-prandial cocktails can be sipped in one of two elegant cocktail bars, and on certain evenings the restaurant hosts movie nights where guests eat and drink what they see on the screen.