If you read my ‘sneak preview’ of Gaucho on Friday, you’ll know that I was so excited about this London-born Argentinian steakhouse that, after sampling some steak and empanadas at the media preview, I simply had to return a mere four days later for more. The way I see it, since admittedly I have never visited any of the London restaurants, I needed to make up for it by going twice in one week here!
Gaucho takes over the space that was formerly Carnevino in LHT Tower. Much like its London counterparts, the space here is kitted out in beautiful cowhide walls and chairs, marble flooring and crystal chandeliers: the perfect depiction of elegance. The menu is also the same as London, headlined by four cuts of steak, all of Argentinian origin, and all 100% grass-fed and free-range.
Now, bearing in mind you’re at Gaucho to eat steak, you’re likely to want to start the meal on a lighter note with one of their ceviches. Although it’s an Argentinian restaurant, it’s their Ecuadorian ceviche that is apparently the most popular and remains a staple on the original London menu. Plump prawns sit in a pool of roasted tomato and pepper sauce with onion and coriander, topped with ripe avocado. It’s certainly not your classic ceviche, but the rich flavour of the roasted tomato is pretty faultless.
I fell in love with the mini-empanadas at the media preview and insisted on having more of them in full size, accidentally trying all three varieties due to a miscommunicated order. The chicken one was lovely, carrying a delicious smoky and spicy flavour; the hand-diced beef, red peppers and ají molido was also pretty special; but it was the provolone and onion empanada that was the best of the lot. Here the provolone, mozzarella and cheddar fused together with the caramelised onions and a touch of oregano, creating a wonderfully stringy parcel of delight. What I like about Gaucho’s empanadas over Tango’s, for example, is that these are baked (not fried), just as they should be.
I simply can’t go to any form of Argentinian barbecue and not try some chorizo. Gaucho’s chorizo is served atop a bed of confit peppers, topped with grilled spring onion and a balsamic glaze, nicely balancing the saltiness of the gorgeously plump sausage itself.
Since steak is obviously the highlight of the menu at Gaucho, it’s no surprise that they make quite a spectacle of it. A rustic wooden board is brought to your table with the four raw cuts – cuadril (rump), chorizo (sirloin), ancho (rib-eye) and lomo (fillet) – as well as a spiral cut lomo, for you to choose which you’d prefer. Detailed descriptions are given of each, as well as recommended cooking temperatures.
We ordered a 300g bife de lomo and a 300g churrasco de chorizo (spiral cut sirloin, marinated for 48 hours in garlic, parsley and olive oil). Each had its own fantastic flavour, needing no sauce to enhance it; in fact we were a little surprised that sauces are offered here, since a good steak should speak for itself. Whilst the lomo was easily the more tender of the two, the chorizo, I found, had much more depth to it. Having ordered it due to the promise of a ‘strip of juicy crackling,’ however, this was sadly just a strip of tough fat, but perhaps I should have gone with the recommended ‘medium’ instead of my usual ‘medium-rare’ in order to achieve this. Nonetheless, both were seriously good steaks and definitely hit the spot.
Sides of broccoli with toasted almonds, chips and humita salteña complemented the meat perfectly, particularly the latter, which came beautifully presented in a cornhusk.
So we’d had some steak, we’d had a lovely bottle of Piedra Cereza Malbec (made exclusively for Gaucho, don’t you know), now all that was left was to have some dulce de leche. Even though we’d seen a neighbouring table crack into a very dry one, we simply couldn’t resist the dulce de leche fondant. Thankfully ours was far from dry, breaking open to reveal the most amazingly oozelicious dulce de leche. Obviously it’s a super sweet dessert and definitely one for sharing, but if you’re craving that hit of real Argentinian dulce de leche, then this is exactly what you need.
Given that many of the staff have come over from the London restaurants, service at Gaucho is excellent. Prices are probably on a par with other Dining Concepts steakhouses; steaks cost upwards of $200 and you’ll easily spend around $800 for a 3-course meal with wine. I may not be able to get myself to Argentina anytime soon, so in the meantime, I know where to go for a little bit of Argentinian elegance and tasty food!
5/F, LHT Tower
31 Queen’s Road Central
Tel: +852 2386 8090