Since its arrival in Birmingham last spring, a trip to Gaucho has been on my culinary to-do list. It’s one of those venues that I always hear referred to when it comes to special occasions: the place for the perfect romantic date or milestones birthday celebrations. However, when I ventured to Colmore Row last Tuesday, it was neither of those things. It was a drizzly afternoon; I’d rushed from work and for some reason I’d been lured by the earlier sunshine and was wearing flip flops. Thankfully, a frantic Google search reassured my ego there was no formal dress code but as I ventured down the dimly lit, luxuriously carpeted steps of what felt like a private members club, I couldn’t help but feel as if I might stand out like a sore thumb.
Venue and Atmosphere
Located in swanky Colmore Row (an area popular with the banking crowd), Gaucho screams minimalist chic in more ways than one. From the small black sign which signals its location to the decor: a combination of twinkly lights, silver and monochrome fittings and soft jazz music on loop, Gaucho is stylish from top to toe. At 6pm, the venue was understandably quiet; yet an hour later the crowds began trickling in. Turns out my flip flops and I were right at home as the restaurant filled with young couples, groups of office workers and even families stopping off for some post-shopping dining. Despite its beautiful decor and upmarket location, Gaucho is unfussy and has a much wider appeal than I’d anticipated.
Our extremely attentive waiter Mario was one highlights of the evening. He started out by talking us through all the different types of meat using a demonstration chopping board to explain the various cuts, flavours and textures and leaving us feeling a little more adventurous when it came to tackling the meat menu. What’s more, it was clear he knew the menu like the back of his hand - able to confidently tell us allergy information (I’m gluten-free) without hesitation and make spot-on food and drink recommendations.
Food and Drink
Whilst Gaucho is known for its beef dishes (which are all from grass-fed cows in the Pampas of Argentina) there’s plenty of other choices. For starters, I opted for the incredibly fresh and juicy Seared Scallops (£16.95) perfectly complementing with spicy chorizo and paprika with creamy butter beans. My dining companion tried the 48-hour dry aged provoleta: essentially a gourmet cheese on toast (£9.95). The gooey provoleta was cooked with honey, oregano and served with a wedge of sourdough.
For mains, I veered away from the extensive steak menu and opted for Spatchcock Chicken (£19.95): a zesty, mouthwatering delight whilst my dining partner selected a 300g Ribeye (£26.50) which he simply defined as: ‘the best steak I ever had.’ Neither dishes came with a side so we tucked into a serving of chunky, fluffy double-cooked fat chips (£4.95).
Gaucho’s extensive steak menu is equally matched with its vast and varied cocktail list. We sipped on the Brunswick (£9.95) a combination of Jack Daniels and lemon juice topped with a Malbec float, as well as the waiter-recommended Summer Garden (£12.95), a mix of gin with summer fruits. Once desert rolled around, I was pretty stuffed but my companion devoured the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake (£9.95) served with hot, toasted marshmallow.
The DesignMyNight Digest
I was immediately wowed by Gaucho’s decor but pleasantly surprised to learn its appeal goes far beyond the surface. Its relaxed, unfussy atmosphere paired with arguably some of the best food and cocktails in the city means that this restaurant should certainly be on your radar to visit.