Given the worldwide popularity of steak, foodies in Britain aren't particularly spoiled for choice.

Commercial, neon-lit chains that do little to excite immediately spring to mind when one considers a British steakhouse.

So it comes as no surprise that Gaucho, now with 14 sites in London, has hit the ground running since opening its first store on Swallow Street, Piccadilly, in 1994.

It specializes in Argentine steak, using only grass-fed, free-to-roam Aberdeen Angus-bred beef from a pick of 45 farms and is wet-aged - meaning its sealed in plastic before shipping.

So considering the effort put into bringing steak over to these shores, it comes as no surprise that the menu is bound to deter bargain hunters.

A starter of pan-fried scallops will set you back £17.50 and a 500g fillet steak will cost you £59.50, to name a few examples, so it certainly sets the bar high for expectations.


You'll find Gaucho's City of London restaurant in Bell Inn Yard, a small and discreet street, before walking downstairs and entering its particularly dark setting.

Cow print material is placed on chairs, there's a view of the chefs frying steak in the background and it's dark floor, dark tables and dark everything cultivate a distinct atmosphere of luxury.

The service is highly complimentary too, as an attentive waitress brings out a chopping board and talks you through a selection of cuts: rump, sirloin, fillet, rib eye etc.


From chopped chicken livers and Argentine Chorizo to Ceviche and poached salmon salad, the starter menu certainly doesn't lack depth.

I opted for the seafood sampler at £16.50 and my friend, Rory, decided on the pan fried scallops at £17.50.

Though disappointing in size for a price most would deem expensive on a main menu, the scallops do blend deliciously with the black pudding in a combination I hadn't had before.

Meanwhile the seafood sampler offers three separate portions of smoked haddock causita, tuna ceviche and sea bream tiraditos - an impressive trio of flavoursome fish. Especially the ceviche, so long as you can handle the lemon kick.


Again the service is particularly good when ordering a drink, since you're encouraged to ask, in detail, about the wine's on offer.

I was particularly impressed with the way each item on the menu is accompanied with a small recommendation of which wine it will go best with it, something I haven't come across in many restaurants before.

Rory opted for a glass of the Luigi Bosca 'Corte G' Blanco, £10.75, followed up by a glass of Piedra Pino at £8.15, both impressive from a hugely comprehensive choice.


Rory opted for the Lomo fillet, 400g, at £45.50 and I decided to have the Chorizo, Sirloin, 400g at £30.95.

Beautifully cooked and blushing perfectly in the centre, both steaks offer as good a flavour as you'll find in this city.

Though both the Peppercorn Sauce (£3) and the Mushroom Sauce (£3) were lovely, I would completely recommend eating the steak on its own - its so flavoursome that nothing needs adding to it.

Spinach (£4.95), Potatoes Dauphinoise (£4.95), thin chips (£4.95) and French Beans (£4.95) accompanied, all reasonable sides but not quite in the same league as our mains.


For dessert, I had the Dulce De Leche (£9.25) and Rory opted for the Apple and Blackberry Crumble (£9.95).

My desert was a sterling offering of cheese cake and likewise with Rory's offering of tender crumble, but for its price the size of both deserts was more than a little disapointing.

The verdict

You may need to book an appointment with your bank manager before dining here, but Gaucho's steaks are the best I've come across in London so far.

getwestlondon gives Gaucho four stars out of five.