April 27, 2016 / 1 Comment
From the moment you arrive at the all-black valet entrance to this DIFC institution, first impressions suggest you’re in for a classier-than-average experience. An extremely classy one in fact.
Given that Gaucho’s popularity extends to 15 locations in the UK plus three international outposts – Dubai, Hong Kong and Buenos Aries, there’s got to be something very special about the Argentinian cuisine they’re serving up.
In case you didn’t know this restaurant is all about the beef, the cow hide interiors decorating the dining room should hint at what they love to serve, and serve extremely well. A lofty space with dramatic double level ceilings, the main dining room is resplendent in chrome and glass, crisp white and moody black (and of course the aforementioned trademark black and white cow hide). Beyond this lie many sexy spaces that complete the full experience of the Gaucho ‘world’, among them a stunning chevron-floored cellar that hosts insightful wine tasting classes, the lounge and cocktail bar resplendent in emerald green, and the super-chic all black private dining room.
A SELECTION OF LATIN AMERICAN BREADS
Hungry and eager to experience all of the brunch treats Gaucho has in store for us, we are very happy when a selection of breads and glasses of prosecco arrive at our table. I have a special weakness for one of the delicious carb laden delicacies on offer at Gaucho – the cheese bread. To me, this is nirvana. Hot out of the oven and crunchy on the outside, the secret lies with the slightly gooey and chewy interior. Add a little butter and I’m not sure what culinary delight could beat it. Strategically I choose to leave the bread plate’s lesser cousins right where they are and dedicate my stomach room to the wonder that is the cheese bread. I think if they’d just kept these and the wine coming all afternoon I would have been perfectly happy. There’s a chimichurri oil that accompanies the breads however too if you feel so inclined.
The next arrival is a selection of three cold starters.
For the seafood fans:
Tuna ceviche, seabass tiraditos, shrimp chiccharron
My GST (Guest Seafood Taster) tells me these were divine, and the tuna spectacular.
And now the selection I enjoyed, suitable for vegetarians or those who aren’t so keen on seafood (the cecina could be removed to make this entirely vege friendly):
Balsamic reduction, cecina and fresh pomegranate
ROASTED BEETROOT AND PUMPKIN SALAD
Cauliflower couscous, affilla and almonds
Avocado, feta, chilli, mint, basil and toasted almonds with lemon dressing
A delicious start to the serious food proceedings, my selection was fresh and flavoursome. I loved the cauliflower couscous salad – so healthy! The watermelon salad was amazingly refreshing (though I’m not a goat’s cheese gal so I dodged that component) and the burratina was also a hit, the pops of pomegranate working really well here.
Our hot starter platter was up next:
BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS
BEEF – Hand diced beef, red peppers, Spanish onion and ají molido Provolone and onion
HUMITA – Creamed corn with basil and mozzarella
Our own Argentine beef chorizo, served on confit peppers and pickled red onion
Now I’ve listed the short ribs first for a reason – they are out of this world. So good in fact, I ordered another plate straight away. Fall-apart tender meat, creamy sauce and topped with spicy chili, spring onions and jalapeños, this dish really is a standout.
Knowing how much corn is heralded here, I headed straight for the humita empanada. Sweet and creamy, this is absolutely divine! If I’d had room I would have definitely ordered more of these. Luckily there’s more corn deliciousness to come in the next course.
The chorizo at Gaucho is amazing – and it’s beef! Normally this is a dish I feel would require pork, but Gaucho proves that the beef version is just as good, if not better. It’s right up my alley as it’s not hugely smokey, but lets the meat and spices shine through cleanly. The peppers are a great accompaniment too.
After pausing for some good wine and equally good conversation, (actually more like pausing to free up much needed stomach room), it’s time for what Gaucho is renown for – steak!
BEEF – 300g of steak made up of three amazing cuts:
TIRA DE ANCHO
Spiral cut ribeye, slow grilled with Chimichurri
BIFE DE LOMO
Top of the cuadril
Sharing bowls of Chips, Humita & tomato salad
Alternative non-beef options can be selected from the a la carte menu
So – as you would expect from this famed house of beef, the steak was out of this world. My favourite is the lomo (I think that’s what I’d usually call eye fillet) so that was devoured first! Two steaks would have been enough each I think, especially with all the other food on offer.
SALTED DULCE DE LECHE AND HAZELNUT CHEESECAKE
BANANA AND COCONUT MESS
Dulce de leche, meringue, honeycomb and cream
By now, the stomach is getting pretty full. Ok extremely full. I did sacrifice the third steak however to keep some room for this delish dessert spread so I managed to fit in a little bit of everything! I’ve got to say, the banana mess is insanely good. I’m not usually one for things called ‘mess’, but this one has won me over. So creamy, with amazing pops of banana, caramel and honeycomb crunch. Divine. The Dulce de Leche cheesecake is lethal too – seriously smooth and sensual, this one should dissolve any resolve you had to keep your sweet tooth at bay. The brownie is a nice touch for the chocoholics out there too.
We enjoyed the drinks that accompanied our brunch experience too – drinks are certainly an essential part of the Dubai brunch experience so I can’t leave those out! The cocktails on offer are: mojito, bloody mary, and our fave, the watermelon martini. Really, really refreshing and just what the doctor ordered after so much indulging!
The white wine included is a Sauvignon Blanc, which I don’t usually drink, but it’s a very mellow, rounded version and not at all sharp or acidic, so went down perfectly fine. The Malbec was lovely, as you would expect from the Malbec maestros here at Gaucho, and I think it should please the red wine lovers out there. We certainly enjoyed it.
In terms of atmosphere, this is a chilled out, grown up brunch for adults who like the finer things in life. Wonderful food, lovely wine and smooth tunes provided by the live singer (not really my cup of tea but I know a lot of people love the live entertainment) all should add up to the perfect way to spend your Friday. Indoor and outdoor seating available. My tip: grab a group and snag one of the fantastic round booth tables. I’ve always eyed those up enviously! I seriously can’t stop thinking about the fab food – I think I’ve found out why Gaucho’s global domination is gathering speed.