The sign of a good lunch is emerging from it after dark, and that is what invariably happens each time we visit the Gaucho. I have long harboured a fondness for this restaurant group, having frequented the London branches with some gusto in my 20s which was the possible driving factor behind our decision to honeymoon in Argentina some years later. This was my first proper trip to the Hong Kong spot however, after attending the press opening back a while back which I wrote about here. Our experience was as usual, flawless, albeit slightly hazy...
While most diners, including I, come for the steak & Malbec, these cheesy bread rolls dipped into chimmichurri sauce is close to the top of my highlights. While I sometimes try, in vain, to skip carbs in the form of restaurant bread rolls, to do so at the Gaucho would be to commit a grave error. They are both irrestistable and moreish. And, let's face it, you could probably do with the extra starch to soak up the forthcoming red wine... If anyone has a recipe for these, do let me know!
Unable to decide and yet feeling decidedly piggyish, we chose two rounds of starters. First were the scallops in parsnip puree, the latter of which was either omitted or neglible in amount. Given what followed, one small error was more than forgiveable. Second were the empanadas, the Argentine answer to the Cornish pasty, with each of preferring a different flavour: my favourite was the provolone.
The Gaucho follows a worldwide format whereby red lipsticked waitresses dressed in matador themed outfits present you with the Argentine beef cuts for which they are famed, highlighting the spiral cut on the right, marinated in chimmichurri.
And luckily, if you can't decide which to go for, the Gaucho offers a tasting plate:
We chose sides of spinach, asparagus with quail's egg, hand cut chips and humitas: sweetcorn husks stuffed with creamy corn with a hint of nutmeg. Comfort food at its finest, the latter were a stand out and mostly devoured with a spoon, although they were certainly no complaints about the rest. I was personally responsible for finishing the hand cut fries, dipping each into a different steak sauce (Bernaise, smoked garlic Hollandaise, peppercorn, mushroom), which was of course all in the interest of researching this review.
Accompanied by some fine wine enthusiasts, we chose to BYO at lunch, paying the corkage fee of $400 per bottle. Otherwise you can select from their extensive and regional wine list here.
Dessert was unavoidable, partly as one of the main ingredients, dulce de leche, is in my top ten items of life, closing following my family, health & happiness. We chose the churros, dipped into dulce de leche, as well as some caramel ice-cream on the side as clearly we were still ravenous at this point. Despite our knowledge of churros being deep fried, sugar coated pieces of batter, dare I say that these felt light, fluffy and almost healthy. If only...
Satisyfing doesn't begin to describe at meal at the Gaucho and I am sure we will be back soon, although possibly after several trips to the gym first.
Gaucho Grill is located at 5th Floor of the LHT Tower, 31 Queens Road East, Central.