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Abigail Spooner heads to the Argentinian restaurant to explore its new sustainable approach to steak.
There are 16 Gaucho restaurants across the UK, but I’m visiting its site in the quaint north-west London neighbourhood of Hampstead.
I’m here to sample Gaucho’s 100% carbon-neutral steak, which has launched alongside a new plant-based menu as part of the restaurant group’s commitment to becoming more sustainable. If you’re wondering how a steak can possibly be carbon neutral, I’ll be honest and say I was dubious at first too. However, this is achieved by offsetting all carbon emissions through reforestation and investment in renewable energy sources. So, you can support the fight against climate change, and have your steak and eat it.
The décor is dramatically dark and lavish, with low lighting, opulent chandeliers and cowhide fabrics lining the walls and swivelling chairs. It’s a deceptively large space with an open kitchen running along one side where you can watch the chefs sear to perfection.
While red wine would be the more complementary choice for steak, white is our preference and we are recommended a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is deliciously light and crisp. It also happens to pair particularly well with our seafood starters. I eagerly tuck into juicy and beautifully golden scallops, which sit in pools of mango purée and a spiced red pepper sauce; the n’duja crumb across the top adds a lovely contrasting crunch. My brother opts for a fresh-tasting tuna ceviche with tortilla chips and cubes of dulce de batata, an Argentinian sweet potato treat.
For the main event, we are keen to try the Lomo Verde, Gaucho’s new ‘zero-carbon’ steak option. It’s a spiral-cut fillet tail, sourced from premium Black Angus cattle that are bred in Argentina, and the quality lives up to expectation. It has been marinated in chimichurri sauce and cooked medium-rare, just as we asked, and is every bit as flavoursome and tender as I’d hoped. Our very welcoming and knowledgeable waitress, Sylvia, had drawn our attention to the truffle mac and cheese, and who are we to refuse such a tempting side? I will add that that was in addition to two healthy portions of chips, heritage carrots with goat’s curd and a bowl of seasonal greens. Never knowingly under-ordered.
Determined to squeeze in a couple of puds, a great slab of sticky toffee pudding arrives to our delighted eyes. It’s surrounded by a warm caramel sauce and topped with a generous dollop of clotted cream. A salted dulce de leche cheesecake is indulgently creamy and sits on a streak of toasted marshmallow. Safe to say we are now fit to burst, but very happily so…
The steaks aren’t cheap, so it’s a meal best reserved for a date night or special occasion. However, if you’re a self-confessed carnivore, you’re unlikely to waddle home disappointed.
The combination of steak and truffle mac and cheese. There’s no looking back now…
Visit gauchorestaurants.com for more information.