Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Steak to the heart


There seems to be a rash of places in town purporting to serve the finest steaks known to any Londoner at the moment. I am not talking about the ever present but perpetually empty Aberdeen steak houses that take up valuable real estate across the capital, like so many Soviet era missile silos full of salad carts and nuclear waste pretending to be foil wrapped baked potatoes. What I am talking about is Smiths top floor restaurant, Hawksmoor and The Gaucho Grill. Londoners would appear to have found their incisors and want blood red meat.

We've always had the best beef in this country. Bar none. Only problem is we have scared ourselves shitless by the fact that we drove it mad, watched it burn in pyres during foot and mouth and even gone as far as trying to convince ourselves we "don't like" the taste of red meat. We've always had the best beef, but the worst cooks. Well done. Every restaurant may as well toll a bell everytime someone orders it because a fine noble cow just died in vain.

Gaucho Grill on Swallow Street Piccadilly serves Argentinian cuts of beef, in a dark and deeply trendy space, with cow hide on the chairs and ornate, but very moody lighting. I booked 12 blokes into the private room, and none of them has ever felt so much like South American drug lords. Which is a good thing apparently. Being over 9 people we couldn't order a la carte but we had chosen the house set menu, which you have to figure is these guys putting the most basic, down to earth, "this is what we do" food on your plate. The starters where "meh". I had a salad of hearts of palm, which was fresh and simple. No great shakes, but a solid honest start gearing up for the main event.

We had a choice of 300g bife de chorizo or bife de lomo. Sirloin or fillet when it boiled down to it. I like the weight thing, it gives you context for just how big a piece of meat your going to be faced with, down to the gram. I've come here before and they parade your precooked steak before you on a wooden slab, in fact, they give you a choice of quivering meat. I remember feeling a bit silly inspecting near identical slabs of meat, but I guess it makes you feel a bit special so is no bad thing. We didn't get the chance with so many of us to inspect our dinners before they arrived steaming on white plates.

They were good steaks, no denying. The usual spats kicked off between sirloin and fillet recipients, but on the whole, pretty darn good steaks. Best in London. It would be impolitic to say the Argies serve the best steak in London I feel. The jury is out for now.
Gaucho Piccadilly - 25 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DJ, T 020 7734 4040


David said...

Wanted to find somewhere with a good steak eating time, seems that this one may just be worth a visit! Thanks for the tip off, and I won't say anything about the Argies ;)

Anonymous said...

The best steak for me is a T-Bone which of course captures the sirloin anyway, and also the beefy taste from the bone - could rare of course!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a decent eating out experience...who am I kidding? I only wish I'd had an experience like this over here in Melbourne!