Newest Review: ... were angled so you weren't directly facing anyone else. The décor in the place was all perfect and ultra elegant. The chairs are covered ... more
Staking Out Gaucho Manchester
Member Name: Picasso
Date: 28/05/08, updated on 04/01/10 (301 review reads)
Advantages: Super steaks, super service
Disadvantages: Poor lighting in the bar area, can get a little too loud
Because this is a very popular restaurant and because I wanted a booking for a Saturday evening, I made my reservation some weeks ago. What I hadn't realise was this was the night of the Ricky Hatton fight and Manchester was heaving with large parties of blokes enjoying a pie and a pint before the event. We arrived at the restaurant at 7.15pm for our 7.30pm booking and checked in at the reception, which is in a foyer, away from the bar and restaurant. When I had made my booking I had been asked for my first name as well as my surname, which I thought was a little unusual. The very pleasant receptionist then asked a member of staff to "take Lorraine and her guest to the bar" and I though this was a nice touch.
I had seen photographs of the inside of the restaurant in local press articles. I remember thinking that this light and airy place was the kind of venue that I prefer. I was disappointed to find that the place had been recently decorated and the white walls replaced by dark brown to match the flooring. It was dimly lit and the only contrast came from the chairs, which were backed, in white and brown cowhide, a reminder of what was on the menu. If I had wanted to choose a drink from the menu I would have had to take it outside, as I couldn't read a thing. Fortunately I had studied the menu on line and keeping in touch with the Argentinian feel, decided on a pre dinner Margarita.
Fifteen minutes later we were shown to our table. The contrast in the dining area was very welcome and very light The small thin entrance corridor opens out to one of the most spectacular interiors in Manchester; a former church hall split into two levels and joined up with staircases and a wonderful stained glass roof.. The upper area is know as "the stage" and consists of individual tables. The lower level has individual tables to the centre and bench tables on its outer. My heart sank when hubby and I were shown to a bench table next to a party of eight very loud men. We hadn't planned on a romantic evening but I did want to hear ourselves speak. The topic of conversation was the boxing and what they were hoping to get out of it. Not very pleasant I have to say. When the waitress arrived to introduce herself, I pessimistically asked whether we could have another table. A few minutes later the head waitress came, having found us a table on this very busy evening. I was impressed and able to relax.
We were given the menus and an explanation on the food and how it was cooked and a complimentary course of Argentinian bread, cheese bread and a wonderful herb and oil dip. The cheese bread was delicious and looked similar to a small scone with warm cheese in the middle. I commented on how tasty they were and the waiter brought us a second helping. He then returned with a selection of cuts of meat and explained how they were cooked and the sizes they came in. Choices of rump, sirloin and fillet or the Churrasco de lomo, a marinated 300g spiral of grilled beef fillet, marinated for 48 hours in lime and herbs from Argentina. There are fish dishes, a variety of salads and a couple of vegetarian options, but I was here to have my yearly fix of meat and I plumped for the Churrasco at £19 and hubby a 300g fillet and £23.50. The steaks come with either chips or salad. Side dishes vary from £3 to £5.75 and sauces between £2 and £3. The waiter advised that my choice was best left alone, but hubby chose a blue cheese sauce with his. Having thoroughly enjoyed the bread and oil, and witnessed the size of the meat, we decided to forego a starter.
I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, although the lack of steak knives was a little unusual and would have made things easier. My medium steak was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. I couldn't manage it all and hubby helped me out after finishing off his "well done" fillet.
The wine list is really interesting to read - covering 140 Argentinian wines with a good explanation/ description to each one. Wines start at a little over £20 per bottle up to £40 plus. Three different kinds of Argentinian beer and a number of cocktails are on offer if you can see the menu to choose. We didn't finish our bottle of Terruno and were given the remainder as we left, stopper dutifully replaced.
There is a choice of around half a dozen sweets plus cheese but I only saw one table partaking. With wonderful bread and popular Desperate Dan sized 400g steaks leaving the kitchen, I would have been amazed if anyone had asked for anything else other than the bill.
At last I can tick off the Gaucho from my list of eateries. Would I go back? If a was a keen red meat eater, this is a place I would frequent, but as I'm not, I'll probably return in another 12 months for my annual fix. If I return before that it would be to try out either the Grilled Spatchcock Chicken marinated in lemon and lime chimichurri or the Patagonian Seabass with aubergine chutney.
Gaucho is a small chain, having a number of outlets in London. It has won awards for its impressive South American steaks. If you are a fan of great hunks of steaks slapped on to a charcoal grill and cooked to your liking, you'll be more than happy here. Despite being a chain, one thing that stood out at Manchester's Gaucho was the high level of service. From the very friendly meet and greet at the reception, the waiter we nearly had who arranged our table swap and the one we had. Despite being a very busy evening, the level never dropped. Members of staff were friendly, willing and worked their butts off.
The kitchen, which is on full view to its diners, appeared to be spotless, as were the loos. ( I inherited this from my mother!)
Open every day 12noon to midnight
Full disabled access.
I've given Gaucho's Manchester four out of five stars. I've dropped one star due of the lack of light in the bar area, which made the drinks menu impossible to read and was hard on the eyes and also for the lack of steak knives.
For menu, price and outlets visit www.gaucho-grill.com
Summary: One of Gaucho's restaurant chain