RiverTribe’s Alison Jee finds a perfect spot for her pooch and a great weekend lunch.
We had heard that Gaucho, the steak restaurant near Richmond Bridge, was dog friendly. So, on a cold winter’s day we strolled over with Crystal Poodle for a spot of late lunch.
Seated overlooking a glorious ancient Plane Tree, we perused the menu while enjoying a Negroni and a beer. Our lovely server Diana brought water and a small stool so the dog could feel part of our group. Impressive canine care!
On to the food. We were served bread and chimichurri, a delicious combination of parsley, spices, garlic, oil and vinegar. Used for dunking bread, marinating and drizzling on meat, it was delicious.
On looking at the menu, Gaucho isn’t cheap, but delve a little and you will spot the amazing value set lunch at £23 for three courses (including three different steak options for mains, together with chicken or salmon). I chose a small rib eye, or ancho, (£26.50) and my husband chose a small fillet, or lomo. (£30.50)
We opted for light starters. My husband chose Monte Enebro bonbons (£9.95 for salad of roasted red onion, beets, chestnuts, blackberries, palm syrup with goat’s curd dressing). I chose tuna and palmito ceviche, (£13.50) with charred palm heart, grapefruit, coriander, pomegranate and yuzu pearls. It was light and tasty and a hot sauce lifted the dish. However, I did experience a certain amount of food envy at the salad, and managed to extract a taste of the delicious blue cheese bonbon, plus a plump, fresh blackberry. It was scrumptious.
The steaks were superbly tender and our choice of sides (rocket and kale salad with parmesan and pumpkin seeds, and mashed, seasoned sweet corn cooked in the husk) worked perfectly. Vegetarians need not shy from dining here; a veritable veggie feast is also available.
The wine list is obviously Argentinian, and I enjoyed a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with my starter and we both enjoyed glasses of Vina Patricia Malbec with our mains (£13.50 a glass, from the restaurant’s own vineyard and named after the ex-wife of the former owner). An elegant, rich and smooth pairing.
Desserts are reasonably priced (from £4.95). My husband opted for syrup and ginger tart with marscapone ice cream and orange curd. It wasn’t too rich, as the orange balanced it beautifully. Dulce de leche cheesecake tempted me, but was the only disappointment of the meal. It was a ‘deconstructed’ cheesecake, something I find irritating, but nowadays surprisingly popular in restaurants. It was a bad choice, and at £9.95, an anti-climax to an otherwise superb meal.
Delicious coffees ended our lazy lunch. Apparently specially blended for Gaucho by Musetti, the company clearly knows its beans, meat and wines.
It was dark when we left, and the lights in the garden and along the riverside provided a magical end to a fabulous feast. Crystal Poodle was happy too.