Steaks are high – and Gaucho Glasgow rides out a winner

Steak: if you’re a carnivoire, then the the chances are, it’s probably one of your favourite dishes.

For me, it most certainly is. I enjoy a good, well-done steak, but because it’s something special, I like to ration the amount of red meat I consume throughout the year, so when I have it, it’s something to especially savour.

So the opening of Gaucho Glasgow, Scotland’s first carbon-neutral steak restaurant, was always going to be a treat.

Gaucho – the name is effectively a translation of ‘cowboy’ – transports the diner to Argentina, where the restaurant’s Black Angus cattle graze on 17 different types of grass.

Newly-opened this week, my companion and I arrived for our first visit to a Gaucho. My colleagues at Scottish Field had raved about the Edinburgh restaurant, so I knew I was in for a treat. How big a treat, though, I was not expecting.

Gaucho, Glasgow

The restaurant itself is plush. It looks modern, the lighting isn’t too bright but you don’t feel the need to get a torch out, the music is at the right level to be background noise, and the atmosphere is classy without being pretentious. All positive boxes ticked so far.

We were taken to our table and introduced to our server, the always alert Ali, who kept our wine glasses topped up when required, and ensured the right amount of time had passed between courses, to check that we were ready for our next, as well as ensuring that we were satisfied with our dining experience. Another positive.

Both of us had a cocktail to start with, my companion having a good old Bramble – absolutely packed full of flavour and very refreshing. I opted for a Tangy Tango (a refreshing mix of Ciroc vodka, Contreau, pomegranate molasses and basil, topped up with pink grapefruit juice and soda spritz, topped with a candied orange. I have always loved grapefruit and this had a pleasant, but not overpowering zing, which set me up perfectly for my starter.

There was plenty to choose from, with so many favourites, including seafood with scallops and tuna, but, given I was in a steak restaurant, it made sense to stick with the house speciality and have the steak tartare (£10.50). This was made from sirloin, a slow cooked duck egg, and crackers.

The taste wasn’t as straightforward as I expected, and thought it had been through a smoking process – we were joined by Gaucho’s head of food, who informed me that I was indeed correct, and this lends it a unique taste. The duck egg yolk was cured in salt, before being placed at the heart of the dish. An absolute joy to eat.

My companion’s starter was the shrimp ceviche (£12.50), with mojo rojo, avocado and arepa bread. She was instantly impressed by the size of the shrimps, and the dressing was fruity without being too overpowering. The avocado was in a generous portion, and the arepa bread was wonderfully different – somewhere between a tortilla and naan bread, but fluffy and full of flavour.

The choice of a main wasn’t going to be easy, with ancho (ribeye), chorizo (sirloin), lomo (fillet) and cuadril (rump), and I changed my mind several times for finally opting for ancho, which isn’t my normal choice, as I tend not to go for the marbled cuts. However, I’m delighted to say that I made a good choice, with the 400g steak (£36.50).

I had the truffle mac and cheese (£6.00) as my side dish, peppercorn sauce, and of course, you can’t have steak without a good portion of chips (£5.00). It’s also worth noting there’s invisible fries on the menu, allowing you to make a donation to Hospitality Action, a charity committed to helping the hospitality industry get back on its feet after the pandemic.

My steak arrived, exactly how I ordered it, being well done – beautifully seared on the outside, and not a sign of blood inside. Just the way I like it. The cut was a beautiful one, and my knife slid through it easily.

The head of food had recommended that we try a portion of their chimichurri. He explained that placing this on the meat would help to break down its structure, and make it easier to consume, cut and digest. And he was right – I cut off some of my steak, and left some chimichurri on it for a few minutes, and the meat was of a different texture in the mouth. Wow.

The mac and cheese was served in a red-hot small pot, and was just the way I like it. The truffle was subtle, but delicious.

My companion’s main dish was the 400g sirloin (£35.50), which was medium rare. As she cut into it, the juices ran free, and she was more than happy with it. It cut well, and the flavour was packed into it.

Her sauce of choice was the blue cheese, and she was more than happy with it, dipping her chips into it, as well as her steak – just the way it should be. A sauce isn’t just for steak – it’s for chips too.

As a side dish, she opted for the seasonal greens, with pea, broad bean, sugar snap pea, confit lemon and roasted baby onion, all of which were fresh and tasty.

The steaks were, quite honestly, the best we have ever tasted. I struggled to find anything which could compare to it, as the flavour was strong, no doubt enhanced in the journey from the ports in Argentina, to the UK.

Desserts were also on offer, and despite feeling towards the pleasant end of full, I couldn’t say no.

I chose the cookie dough, with ice cream on top. This was, actually, a portion for two, but I love my baked cookie dough, and devoured it so quickly. It was impressively hot, but was so soft and gooey, that the ice cream was melting at a ridiculous speed. Thankfully, I managed to eat it all before it turned into a sweet puddle.

My companion opted for a salted dulce du leche cheesecake. Dulce du leche is one of her favourites, and the moment server Ali read it out, that was her sorted. And it was wonderful – sweet, with a tasty base that crumbled nicely, and offered a pleasant more gritty contrast to the softness of the topping. Another win.

The whole dining experience was faultless – the service was first class, the food was beyond comparison, the setting was just right, and the atmosphere was convivial.

I can say with absolute certainty that this was the best meal I have ever had. I can’t give Gaucho any more praise than that.

Gaucho, 7 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G1 2PR