Gaucho arrives in Birmingham on a tsunami of hype, being the first to open from the group for seven years and choosing little old Brum for the honour. I’m going to stick my neck out and speak for the city; we’re delighted about this. Good steak in Birmingham is a rarity, and even then it’s a decent walk from the centre to get a fix. The principles of a steakhouse are not difficult – source cow, age cow, cook cow, rest cow, eat cow – yet the realities are often a disappointment. I’ve stopped eating steak out because of it. It defies the very reason I eat out, which is to have an experience better than I can create at home. I know an excellent butcher and I cook it better than the majority of places.
So let me thank Gaucho one more time for delivering the best piece of cow I have eaten in this city, in the sexiest dining room I have eaten in quite some time. It is a sultry space of plush purple seating and low lighting. There are abstract trees in the centre of the room and leaf murals lining the walls. It’s a place to impress, whether that be the partner, the affair, or the colleague.
I am here on a night to showcase the beef, and boy, what beef it is. Argentine prime cattle, wet aged for longevity. After some nibbles of raw bits and some slow cooked bits, we sit down and tuck into a scotch egg with coarsely chopped cow replacing the pig. It’s bold and funky, almost reminiscent of tartare when the yolk is released. A chipotle ketchup swings us back over to South America. It is the ultimate pub snack, twenty times more masculine than any pork scratching. I like it a lot.
Our main event is a fillet cooked to a perfect rare. It is, as I reference above, the best piece of beef I have eaten in this city. It’s not a cut I would usually order – I far prefer a bit of chew and more flavour – but it’s one I will go back to again. Buttery in texture, full of flavour and aggressively seasoned. It is wonderful. A decadent truffle compote has the underlying earthiness of mushroom, with a carrot and parsnip dauphinoise that I will try and fail to recreate at home. If this is on the menu order it. If it’s not stamp your feet and insist that they make it for you.
There was dessert, but if I’m honest I’d make too many trips to the Malbec tasting room and by now all I wanted to do was go and meet a girl. I was extremely tipsy and don’t recall that much about it other than the panna cotta was well set and I cleaned the bowl, which means it must have been good.
The sticking point for some will be the price – it’s not cheap. Order three courses, including the fillet and a couple of glasses of wine from the bottom of the list, and you’re looking at a spend of £70 a head. For that price you expect fireworks, and, if steak is your thing, you can expect it here. It is obvious the level of effort that has gone into making the newest Gaucho a success, and it has paid off with aplomb. Gaucho has the making of a Birmingham classic, and I for one cannot wait to keep on going back.
I was invited to the launch event at Gaucho
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