Decorated like a goth's wet dream. This is uber masculine design. Consisting entirely of blacks, mirrors and the odd flashes of cow, the room disorientates at first, black doors open onto black rooms through black walls, until you manage to pick out the shades. The crowd in the place is similarly male, a slightly confused couple sat next to us slotted uneasily next to large groups of braying men, flushed of face with bonhomie, wine, good steak and self importance. Deals weren't being done, but like Keens and the grand old tradition of New York steakhouses, they were certainly being celebrated.
It didn't start well for for the restaurant service wise I have to say.. We sat in the (black) departure lounge of the bar and sipped insipid cocktails. I went for the Bloody Asado, a watery £8's worth of roasted plum tomato, red pepper and vodka, reminiscent of a very cheap salsa. 45 minutes after our reservation time we were still sat there. The location and the crowd would suggest they are focussed firmly on the volume business market and a random three top is of less interest.
We finally sat down at a table an hour and 15 after our reservation. The urgent need now was for food and fast so we skipped the starters and got straight in. For the record, the starters have always been a hit in the past. Fresh fish ceviche and tiraditos are bright and clean, served straight up with lime and lemon, the citric acid ‘cooking’ the meat. My guest and I looked no further than the Gaucho Sampler, a 1.2kg board of fillet, rump, sirloin and ribeye. The meat arrived served as requested (though identified incorrectly by the server) and was a melting joy. With a bottle of excellently chosen Malbec, recommended by the server (one bright spot was their wine training) the meat was exactly what we needed. Moving through the sampler board from cleanest (fillet) to most complex (ribeye) flavours I was amazed by how clearly the differences in cut shone through when served alongside each other. It's a must do experience for the steak lover. Sides were largely forgettable (and incorrect).
Ultimately you're here for the meat, and probably business. If you're looking for a great steak experience in London then go to Hawksmoor or Goodman. If you're looking for an authentic Argentinian steak restaurant, go to Buen Ayre in Broadway Market. If you're bringing your (mainly male) team to celebrate winning a piece of business over a few bottles of Malbec and some decent steak, then the Gaucho will do just fine.