Open Mon-Weds 11.45am–11pm; Thurs-Fri 11.45am-12am,; Sat 9-10.30am, 11.45-12am; Sun 11.am–10.30am, 11.45am-11am
A low-slung, boathouse inspired building, Gaucho Richmond is a sophisticated way to spend a day on the river. Inside, the glass-panelled walls offer panoramic sights of Richmond Bridge and Petersham Meadows, so you can enjoy glorious views at any time of year.
Richmond is one of my favourite spots in London and luckily for me it’s a mere 15 minutes away by foot from home. The leafiness, the pretty row boats colourfully aligning the riverside and the family-friendly, cosy atmosphere are just a few of the best things about the area. Dining along the river front here makes for an idyllic setting and it just so happens that this west London location boasts some great places for food – Gaucho being one of them. Known for its cowhide-laden interiors and modern (read: lavish and I love it) aesthetic, Gaucho’s Richmond branch upholds said reputation, but offers a natural setting as its backdrop; a satisfying contrast. The Argentinian steak house sits proudly along the towpath with a boathouse style exterior and generous outdoor decking. Our reservation was at 8pm and we’d just missed the last of the warm air so we couldn’t dine al fresco sadly. But that said, our table was perfect; offering a river view and a front row seat to admire the impressive 300 year old Plane tree that has its roots (quite literally) firmly in the grounds of the Gaucho decking area.
When we arrived on a Thursday evening, the restaurant was well and truly filling up. As we walked through to our table I couldn’t help but notice (and hear) a table of wedding guests celebrating and toasting the bride – shot glasses strewn across the table and bottles of wine galore. Meanwhile, a very well-groomed looking couple celebrated their anniversary on a table next to us, while on the other side of the restaurant families with slightly older children happily tucked into steaks and chunky chips. It felt as though the table arrangement had been very well considered to say the least. Overall the crowd at gaucho was an eclectic one, the atmosphere was fun, energetic and buzzy, and funnily enough so were the staff.
Anyone who knows of Gaucho knows that it’s a carnivore’s haven, specialising in fine cuts of hearty Argentinian steak served up with an array of accompanying sides. Naturally I took my husband along with me for this particular dining experience as we’re both red meat fans, plus his appetite knows no bounds so anything I couldn’t finish would be consumed and I could leave the place with a clear plate and thus a clear conscience. We went straight in with the starters of seared scallops (£15.95) and the tuna and palmito ceviche (£13.50), both fresh, both perfectly prepared. The ceviche was light and zesty (as any good ceviche should be) and the scallops – healthy in size – had just the right amount of bite.
When our lovely waiter Ivan brought the wooden platter of steak cuts over to help us with our selection, my indecisiveness went into overdrive. Also, best I mention here that I’m pregnant and would normally order a rare steak so I knew my options were not only limited, but I was about to commit a cardinal sin and order a well-done steak in a steak restaurant. Needless to say, they were very accommodating and Ivan suggested a cut that wouldn’t lose its flavour or wow factor. And that was that, for the main event I was to have a 300g cut of ‘Ancho’ ribeye (£26.50). Without too much persuasion, my husband opted for the 400g ‘Lomo’ fillet (£48) and when it arrived even he laughed nervously at the prospect of finishing off the beast of a portion that sat in front of him. The meat would have been enough, but you can’t order steak without some sides (all at £4.95) and so we went with Humita Saltena a creamy sweetcorn and mozzarella thing of wonder served in a corn husk, some chips (of course) lightly seasoned in thyme salt and some wilted spinach with garlic and lemon.
The taste and texture of my steak was actually very full in flavour and tasted pure in its meatiness. It was a bit crisp on the outside (not something I’m used to), but I actually enjoyed this new found way of eating ribeye while pregnant. Did I have slight envy when I saw the pink juicy fillet across the table from me? Well maybe a tad, but to be honest the quality of the meat is so great that any which way you choose to have it served will not disappoint. Feedback from my husband (half an hour in and still going strong) was a resounding excellent. It took a few breaks and dabs of the brow, but not a morsel was left in sight.
Dessert had to be a small scoop of dulce de leche homemade ice-cream – anything more would have tipped me over the edge. Creamy, delectable flavour and just the right amount of sweet to end off the meal.
In a nutshell
Location, setting, service and food were all top notch at Gaucho Richmond and the evening felt like an occasion; no wonder there were celebrations going off left, right and centre. The view is exceptional (just make sure you ask for a good seat) and the team are attentive and knowledgeable to say the least. Next time (there will be a next time) I think a brunch on the outside decking could be something worth trying.
Although I’m obviously not drinking, I did have a sniff of the Malbec ‘d’Oro’ Viña Patricia Lunlunta, Mendoza ‘14 (£17.50 per glass) and it smelt divine. A strong recommendation from our waiter, my husband found it a perfect accompaniment to the steak. The staff were more than happy to accommodate for me – mocktails, juices are all on offer; something for everyone.