Restaurant review: Gaucho Hampstead
- Credit: Archant
Bridget Galton enjoys a reminder of how a night in a good restaurant can feed the body and lift the spirits
With a second lockdown rumoured, it seems timely to head out for a bite before it’s back to home cooked meals and endless take-aways.
In these uncertain times, it was a relief to see that Gaucho in Hampstead was still there, as ever offering a pleasingly glamorous setting for an intimate meal.
The dramatic dark walls, low lighting, and cowhide seats, chime well with the bold flavours emerging from the kitchen - of seared prime steaks and velvety Malbecs.
With the weather still mild, we took the option of sitting beneath canopies in the lovely courtyard, warmed by heaters.
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Before long we were happily installed with a tall, gently bubbling Elder 75 cocktail of gin, lemon juice, elderflower and sparkling wine.
On a previous outing I had tucked into a memorably hearty sausage platter of morcilla and chorizo, but today we were both feeling like something more delicate.
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Our twin pescatarian starters fit the bill perfectly, a refreshing seabass ceviche with coriander papaya and watermelon for me, and a nicely judged yellowfin tuna in a burnt lime dressing with nori and sesame seeds for him.
Of course it’s the gorgeous Argentinian beef that’s the main draw here, take your pick of rump, sirloin, rib eye and fillet at varying weights with all the usual sauces and toppings.
I played safe with a medium rare rib eye with chimichurri - a traditional Latin American meat accompaniment of red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, herbs and fresh chilli - and was not disappointed by the quality of the cut or the cooking.
My partner’s sirloin had been basted overnight in a similar mix and was all the more tender for the experience.
Sides of carrots with goats curd and almonds, excellent chips and a buttered lettuce with shallots and avocado offered welcome fibre and crunch.
Of course we washed it down with an Argentinian Malbec - there’s an extensive choice and the waiters are all clued up to offer advice to match your taste.
Since the end of the world might be nigh, we dug into desserts of sticky toffee pudding with dulce de leche, and a chocolate brownie - with sticky dessert wines to set them off.
For families there’s a children’s menu, and a never-ending roast on Sundays.
If the lockdown holds off, it seems that Gaucho has all bases covered.
Gaucho Hampstead, 64, Heath Street, NW3.
020 7431 8222 gauchorestaurants.com