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Gaucho Reviewed: Meat, Meat, MEAT

Jonathan Schofield eats meat, drinks wine. Yesssh meat. Yesssh wine. But pays the price.

Written by . Published on December 13th 2011.


Gaucho Reviewed: Meat, Meat, MEAT

MEAT, meat, meat.

Gaucho. Blood. Flesh.

And red wine. Not poncey pink, or white.

Red. Visceral. Sinews. Muscle. 

There's nothing shy about the Gaucho experience. 

Even the building, a former Methodist meeting hall, is big-boned, with a lofty ceiling and organ pipes like rib-eyes stacked up on a butcher's counter. 

Usually we put the price of the dishes immediately after their descriptions on Confidential reviews. This time I've been saving them up to present as a package. Gaucho is very expensive. 

Confidential had popped in for lunch because on the way to review the new but uninspiring Lost Dene pub on Deansgate we'd lost the will to live.

Could we be bothered with sausages and mash and the Christmas office frenzy in mundane surroundings? Nope. So we'd slipped by the Lost Dene for some life affirmingly fleshly matters in the Argentinian festival of steak that is Gaucho.

We got exactly what we wanted in the shape of two juicy mains.

These came in the form of the 300g rump steak (below) and the 400g rib-eye (top of the page). You can go up to a 500g meat filler and more if you want here, or stick with a more modest 225g.  You can also get fillets and sirloin. 

Goucho 032

Both cuts were simply exquisite. For example my rib-eye was marbled with fat, full-on flavoured and perfectly medium-rare as ordered. It was simply a joy. There is something magnificent, heroic almost, with setting about a steak. This one fulfilled everything you want from such a journey.

The sides of fries and salad failed to live up to the meat - how could they? The fries weren't quite as crisp as they could have been and the salad looked as though it were ashamed to show its face in a place named after macho Latino cowboys. 

The spiced sweet potato dish however was fabulous. Prepared as a puree, it was almost as lush as the meat. I spooned it up like a kid with a sweet tooth, faced with a bowl of custard.

There were some concerns throughout the meal.

We'd popped in for a quick lunch, one course, bottle of wine, 45 minutes sort of thing. We were there an hour and fifteen. It took the otherwise delightful staff several minutes to bring us a menu on a day with only about seven other tables occupied. Then it took ages to place the order.

Goucho 037The flying rumpSecondly we had the flying steak incident. My dining partner had insufficiently anchored her rump - so to speak - with her fork before applying the knife. The half-eaten steak took off like a cannonball and landed six feet away on the carpet. I've got to admit I've not laughed so much for ages. Nor probably have the customers and staff that witnessed it. 

The latter were gracious enough to offer a replacement free of charge. What Gaucho should do is look to their cutlery. Sharper steak knives would come in handy.

The final issue we had is more serious.

Usually we put the price of the dishes immediately after their descriptions on Confidential reviews. This time I've been saving them up to present as a package. Gaucho is very expensive. 

Goucho 038Dull knifeWe went in at lunch. I had £80 cash on me, no more, as I'd forgetfully left the plastic at home. My steak was £25.50, the rump was almost £18 - and these were medium cuts. The sweet potato side was another £4. The delicious bread, oil and butter was thankfully free.

The wine, a Don David Cabernet Sauvignon, came in at £32.50. Hardly any of the red wines were less than £30. The quality is undeniable - this was complex, full, passionate, in otherwords, unbelievably effing good - but it was just about the cheapest red I could find. These Argentinian wines make you very happy about the New World product but the price points are as high as the altitude at which the grapes are grown.

The result was that for two main courses only and wine, at lunch, my £80 was all eaten up. I'm not sure Gaucho does itself any favours by making people have to to save up for lunch.

Of course we could have gone for the limited range of fish and veggie dishes but that would be like going to Blackpool and not seeing the sea. 

Gaucho is all about the steaks. And if you get chance you should sample their delights and the magnificent building which hosts them. But service needs to speed up, a choice of sides should come with the mains as should the sauces, and there should be some wines at lower price points.

Maybe the flying rumps should calm down a little as well. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

Gaucho
2A St. Marys Street  Manchester M3 2LB
0161 833 4333     
 

Rating: 13.5/20
Food: 7.5/10
Service: 3/5 
Ambience: 3/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: we gets carried away.

Goucho 024

Goucho 034

Goucho 030

Goucho 028

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27 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

pollolocoDecember 13th 2011.

Have to agree with most of this review. Great steaks but sweet Jesus you pay for it! I like a good steak as much as anyone, however it's the one thing I rarely have when I'm out because it's just so piss easy to cook at home.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

Get over to Smoak - much fairer prices and the meat is expertly cooked on their parilla.

1 Response: Reply To This...
M-Dog ManchesterDecember 13th 2011.

But you'll probably die of boredom at Smoak, there's definitely no drama in that kitchen, the chefs look so unhappy. You'll also probably wonder why the 'eck you're dining in a dog awful deep south inspired set with rusty tin cans, chains and sacks hanging round the place, it's all a bit S&M hill billy for me... bring back the cosy, sultry brasserie... Looking forward to Gaucho this month, and I don't care how much this one costs, it's been a long time! Grrrrrrrrr!

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

I suspect the prices are partly to do with the beef import industry itself. The price of South American premium grade meat has sky rocketed in the last few years and continue to do so. This does not excuse the extortionate wine prices though. Great service and atmosphere but just unaffordable for a lot of people.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

I suspect the prices are partly to do with the beef import industry itself. The price of South American premium grade meat has sky rocketed in the last few years and continue to do so. This does not excuse the extortionate wine prices though. Great service and atmosphere but just unaffordable for a lot of people.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

Should you fly steaks 1000s of miles when we have quality beef in the UK? All those airmiles, carbon and extra costs for a product you can buy here, seems mad.

AD

the Whalley RangerDecember 13th 2011.

Anon, and what about the Chilean/ Australian/ Californian wine you've been drinking all these years?

Argentinian steak is not in any way comparable with UK produce. Believe me it's worth it.

When we send all those quality manufacturing products to South America, should the containers return empty?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

I tend to drink french spanish and italian wine which is about as close as decent wine can come from - bar some english white and sparkling.

As for the containers they should stop off in brazil and come back full of salsa dancing carnival girls and lots and lots of rum.

AD

Elaine CashinDecember 13th 2011.

Jonathon- nothing like being cheeky in the Xmas period. Any chance of me being your next dining partner?

Butcher BoyDecember 13th 2011.

I was unfortunate enough to have worked in a butchers shop during my youth and we used to sell Argentinian beef. Vacuum packed and shipped thousands of miles - I'll never understand how beef from this region has become so fashionable.

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerDecember 14th 2011.

Is that cause the Germans have far better manufacturing? That country is plastered with Argentinian steak houses!

Would prove my container theory.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

Just wanted to point out that a sauce IS included with the price of the steak along with a side dish of either fries or mixed salad at the Gaucho in Manchester. There are also 5 bottles or red wine in the Seleccion G range which are under £30 including a Cabernet Sauvignon at £25.50 :-)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
M-Dog ManchesterDecember 13th 2011.

Top dog! See you soon Gaucho for some tasty top meat with (hopefully) top service (if it's not I'll be showing my teeth) and some decent red wines... Cab Sav and Rib Eye for this dog! Grrrrrrrr!

Staff
Jonathan SchofieldDecember 13th 2011.

I apologise for the wine inaccuracy - not that it stops the wines being too expensive generally with huge mark-ups. I don't apologise for the sauces because this was not told to me by the staff which they should have done while discussing the steaks. I'll amend accordingly though, thanks.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

Gaucho is good but not great and it is definitely overpriced, and I dont made paying for sides & sauces but I'm always disappointed by them.
For a true steak lover I would recommend Upstairs at the Grill in Chester - still not cheap but better steaks, better sides, better service and a real wow factor!

1 Response: Reply To This...
M-Dog ManchesterDecember 13th 2011.

I always have an excellent time at The Grill on New York Street... one of Manchester's best little hidey-holes.

M-Dog ManchesterDecember 13th 2011.

Well I for one, after seeing all those tasty hunks of meat above, cannot frickin' wait for my yearly visit to Gaucho, offers are scarce in December so it's time for full price treats! Yes, Gaucho is expensive, but you pay for what you get... food, interior etc, and if that service isn't up to scratch, or something gets me grrrrr-ing they'll certainly know about it. And that's what they should expect being at the top n all. Here's hoping it'll be a dog's dinner and I'll trot away a happy hound... I always have been in the past. LONG LIVE GAUCHO!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

ha ha long live gaucho, who r u the gm. i have been to all the steak houses in the uk and believe me gaucho is over priced for meat that sits in its own blood for week waiting to be delivered. i have tried grill on new york and smoak and both are better for quailty and price u need to get out more mate

AnonymousDecember 13th 2011.

i ate at smoak on sat and the steak was amazing the chefs on the grill were really nice giving uis tasting dishes to eat while waiting for our grub. i have never seen a place so busy with great staff the negetive is still the metel beakers for your water not nice!!!!

M-Dog ManchesterDecember 14th 2011.

Ha ha! Aw well I'm sure I'll have a grrreat time at Gaucho whatever the price. I tend to have a top time wherever I go, but Smoak has been a let down. I want it to be brilliant but I'm never totally happy with it. And the theming is OTT and doesn't work with the menu. Maybe they need to be bolder and make it a proper grill house, proper meaty menu, and drop the European dishes palaver. I will keep trying it though! And, mate, I eat out just about every night, anywhere and everywhere. LONG LIVE MEAT!

M-Dog ManchesterDecember 14th 2011.

Those beakers, yikes! "Are you OK with tumblers for your wine sir?". "Erm, NO!". Ha!

Andrew MullettDecember 14th 2011.

tester

AnonymousDecember 14th 2011.

have eaten in smoak many times now and have never been let down! M-dog posted above that the chefs look unhappy??? they have a great time on that amazing josper grill interacting with the punters sat at the grill. have a more meaty menu??? large grill section on the menu with its own meat maturation room is the restaurant is good enough for me!
have booked smoak for New years eve!

1 Response: Reply To This...
M-Dog ManchesterDecember 14th 2011.

Yes, unhappy. I can't help what I see with my beady eyes. Maybe there's not enough meat being ordered when I've been to cheer them up and keep them busy... who knows!? Like I said I will keep trying. One day Smoak will offer the drama one would expect from their advertising, and the over themed interior just gets to me big style. Nothing seems to gel. Anyway, I have just registered to grab some January deals... see you there for some cut price meaty treats and happy faces all round!

http://www.malmaison.com/…/clubmal-launch.aspx

M-Dog ManchesterDecember 14th 2011.

Yes, unhappy. I can't help what I see with my beady eyes. Maybe there's not enough meat being ordered when I've been to cheer them up and keep them busy... who knows!? Like I said I will keep trying. One day Smoak will offer the drama one would expect from their advertising, and the over themed interior just gets to me big style. Nothing seems to gel. Anyway, I have just registered to grab some January deals... see you there for some cut price meaty treats and happy faces all round!

www.malmaison.com/…/clubmal-launch.aspx…

Lorraine ByrneDecember 16th 2011.

Whoops BUT I've never rated the steak in Gaucho!!! Sorry. Way too salty for me. Service is good but too slow. Went to Grill on the Alley recently for the first time in about two years - gorgeous steak, great athmosphere and amazing service - totally recommend it.

Hero
Keith RobertsonOctober 26th 2012.

I have just had a meal at Gaucho with 15 very close friends in the private dining room celebrating my 40th birthday. The service was fantastic once you got over the 2 hour waiting time for our first course, but this was not helped by two of our guests being 35 minutes late. We were forced to have a set menu and so went for the sharing platter, big mistake. The starter was good, but the main courses were very very poor! We received three small pieces of fatty tough ...... well dog I think was one of the descriptions, over cooked and greasy chips and a corn mash that was tepid. Deserts were fine. I love this place which is why I pushed my other half to have the meal here but what a total let down. How long does it take and how difficult is it to cook a steak? Why were we fed total rubbish and then presented with a bill which had a service charge of £149. Your having a bloody laugh! Even the waiter who was a bit sheepish when he gave me the bill looked some what uneasy. Oh the wine was very good though. I felt that embarrassed I payed £500 of the bill myself and also paid the service charge. I have never complained at a restaurant but just back from a break an I will be delivering both barrels. At £50 per head it was shocking so when the bill came in at over £100 per head my embarrassment was totally complete (just because of the food and delays). For a party of 4 this place is fantastic but for a party of anything above this go anywhere else, even KFC would be better.

A very unhappy and previously customer.

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Keith Robertson

I have just had a meal at Gaucho with 15 very close friends in the private dining room celebrating…

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Lorraine Byrne

Whoops BUT I've never rated the steak in Gaucho!!! Sorry. Way too salty for me. Service is good but…

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M-Dog Manchester

Yes, unhappy. I can't help what I see with my beady eyes. Maybe there's not enough meat being…

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M-Dog Manchester

Yes, unhappy. I can't help what I see with my beady eyes. Maybe there's not enough meat being…

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