As Gaucho in Hampstead is the only place where you can get a well-sized decent stake, I want this lament to reach to the owners/managers. As a local, and despite heavily inflated price, I want this place to keep going and not to go bust because of a minor problem of undermanaged staff.
The steak was good, the wine was acceptable. The bill was delivered OK. But, when I paid well above the bill amount (20%+) in hope to get the change and then leave the tips, the circus started. I have dutifully waited for the change to arrive for 20 minutes. Then I put up a show of building coin pyramids. This still did not help. After the neighboring table got their bill, paid and left, I decided to leave, too.
I am certain the waiting staff at Gaucho Hampstead are well aware of the basic and commonly accepted etiquette of bringing the exact amount of change to the customer for the customer to decide on the tips. When a waiter decides to hold back the money, this borders with petty extortion. Not nice.
I am sure that Gaucho will find ways to deal with this unacceptable practice.