Can we reasonably expect the same fantastic Gaucho service and experience we’re used to, despite the mandatory clunky measures the restaurant trade is obliged to undertake for our safety during Covid-19? The good news is they nailed it. By Nick Bradley
EDINBURGH’S Gaucho restaurant – just off St Andrew’s Square – is housed in a contemporary glass building with textures and tones inspired by Argentina’s forests. It is the place to dine for upmarket Argentine free-to-roam, grass-fed Aberdeen Angus beef with a premium wine list designed to satisfy wine connoisseurs.
The restaurant is also extending the Eat out to Dine Out deal giving every guest up to £10 off when they order from the A La Carte menu Monday-to-Friday throughout September.
Stepping off St Andrew’s Square we quickly became immersed in the dark walls, golden lights, and crystal glass of the ground floor cocktail bar. The ambience was effortlessly cool. We felt at ease.
With no more than six small tables, it’s the perfect place to start with an aperativo, whilst listening to the gentle civilised buzz and chatter of the underground restaurant enticing us to join.
We began our evening with the elegant ‘Elder 75’ cocktail of gin – argentine sparkles, and elderflower liqueur. And the Zacapa Negroni of Ron Zacapa 23 Rum, Campari and Belsazar Rose vermouth that certainly packed a punch of flavour that insists upon being sipped and savoured.
Descending downstairs into the restaurant, there is no mistaking the Gaucho sense of style and ambience. Contemporary, sophisticated and low lit, elegant wood planks snake their way up columns and walls of mirrors from floor to ceiling, giving a firm nod to the argentine forest it was inspired by.
Much like its London sister venues, Gaucho’s first Scottish venue attracts a wonderfully eclectic mix of diners – families, couples, first dates, friends reuniting, young professionals, dressed up and dressed down – all looking completely at home. This is style without pretence.
The lingering concern up until this point has been whether we can still fairly and reasonably expect the same fantastic Gaucho service and experience we’re used to and so fond of, despite the mandatory clunky measures the restaurant trade is obliged to undertake for our safety.
The good news is they nailed it; ample space between tables (two metre spacing) and, if any have been removed it certainly isn’t to the expense of conviviality. Staff have adopted new measures seamlessly into the quiet attentiveness that seems to come so naturally.
Were it not for their facemasks one could easily have forgotten that any restrictions were in place – a much welcome respite.
“It is fantastic to have an experience where COVID was right at the back of our minds vs completely un-ignorable! They’ve done a really good job not making it feel forced.”
It is also nice to see that the staff are personally experienced in the Gaucho menu and they know their Shiraz from their Syrahs’ too. We were more than happy for our waiter, Daniel, to take the choice off our hands for an evening. His task was simply to give us his best expression of an Argentine eating experience and take the lead on wines to match. Challenge accepted and away we go.
A typical rustic street food snack of Empanadas: light stuffed pastries of lamb, humita, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella.
Paired with: Pasarisa, Torrontes, I.P. Salta, 2018 – aromatic, dry, slightly acidic and the perfect suggestion for a fresh cut through the light salts and oils.
The South American classic Ceviche: Seabass in a zingy refreshing leche de tigre sauce of lime, ginger, papaya and melon.
Paired with: Martinborough 2019 Sauvignon Blanc from Craggy Range, New Zealand – a dry white with expressions of lime, passion fruit and minerality that can stand up to the ceviche chilli heat.
We both chose steaks cooked medium rare. The spiral cut steak loin was marinated in garlic, parsley and olive oil for a lean tender and delicate flavour. We shared a side of pan-fried oyster mushrooms and tender stem broccoli in crispy garlic and soy dressing.
Paired with: Despite a wide selection of Argentine reds, we were intrigued and determined to try a glass of Vina Patricia D’oro: a 2015 Malbec from Gaucho’s own acquired vineyard in Lunluta Mendoza. This wine is only produced during exceptional vintages, the D’Oro is Gaucho’s super-premium concentrated version of the black label Vina Patricia, made exclusively for them by Roberto De La Motta, one of Argentina’s most reputable wine makers. This wine simply blew us away. It’s velvety, rich, with ripe red and black forest fruits, and a silky but powerful flavour. A truly fantastic expression of a Malbec.
To Finish: Italian lemon meringue pie with blackcurrant sorbet as a refreshing and cleansing finish.
Paired with: A beautifully light and subtle 2013 Amalaya Esperanza por un milagro.
The A La Carte menu also offers a broader food and wine offering inspired by modern Argentina and its global influence.
Vegetarians are also catered for with dishes such as Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle, Potato Rosti with Cauliflower, Burrata with winter truffle, balsamic and sourdough.
Sunday Roast is one not to be missed. Indulge in Gaucho’s roast sirloin of beef, served with roast potatoes, unlimited Yorkshire puddings, cooked in beef dripping with lashings of carrots tossed in churrasco marinade, broccoli and served with red wine gravy.
The infamous Electro Brunch every Saturday from 11-4pm is one not to be missed (Covid19 restrictions will of course apply).
The brunch has a Latin twist with Gaucho signature salt beef, eggs benedict served up with an epic line-up of cocktails. The cost is £40.00| Premium £50.00 (Unlimited Food & 4 cocktails per person).
The venue can cater for group dining and private dining – great for group dining and special events and it is dog friendly!
Gaucho Edinburgh, 4a St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2BD
Sunday – Thursday: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Private Dining Available. The Wine Room seats 14
0131 278 3410 Edinburgh@gauchorestaurants.com