Oh dear, a bad start. They couldn't manage 6pm, or 6.30, only 6.15 was available. And yet when we arrived, and throughout the meal, there were plenty free tables. Why do they do that?!
The welcome was warm and friendly, but after that it was downhill. Seeing the prices and noting the absence of any Michelin stars, we decided to forego the first courses and just sample the meat, which was the purpose of the visit anyway. Despite being told it wasn't necessary, the waitress insisted on bringing a tray with all the various raw cuts on display. I was dismayed – to my ex-butcher's eye, the colour looked insipid, the fat too white, the marbling non-existant, and the texture or body of the meat looked flaccid (although I didn't touch it to test).
The cooked version bore out my concerns. Cooked exactly as ordered, the meat had little flavour or quality – on a par, I would say, with a supermarket's ‘Finest’, which isn't saying much. If Gaucho's cows have ever smelt grass, let alone eaten it, I'd be amazed. Sadly, the side orders didn't justify their additional cost either.
The service was erratic and poor, the music too loud to have a conversation, and all in all we were relieved to get out and to write off the experience as an expensive experiment gone wrong.