Good news from our neighbours at Gaucho Smithfield. Earlier this year the Gaucho restaurants (first of which opened in 1976) successfully completed a significant organisational restructure and are now owned and run by the same group which operates the M restaurants chain. There are two Gauchos close at hand – Gaucho Smithfield and Gaucho Broadgate and this review covers the Smithfield restaurant on Charterhouse Street, only a stone’s throw from the western end of the Barbican complex.
Traditional dishes and emphasis on quality continue – big juicy, tender Argentine steaks from grass-fed cattle, empanadas, chimichurri sauce, cheese bread, signature desserts and premium Argentine wines, including the UK’s largest selection of Malbec. But there are now also vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian menu choices available and wines from other countries.
Gaucho Smithfield is a favourite among people who both work and live in the area. Interior is spacious, décor is black, white, cow hide & crystal chandeliers & table candle holders. It feels smart and classy. Ambiance is cheerful, chatty and somewhere between smart casual and almost formal. There is a pool table in the front bar area. As with most restaurants Monday to Wednesday can be a bit quieter than Thursday to Saturday.
The Bottomless Beef & Bottle is now available six nights a week from 7pm Mon-Fri and Sat from 5pm. We tried it on a wintery Wednesday evening. Fellow diners included two cheerful smartly dressed youngish groups, a family and several couples.
While the sirloin, rump and ribeye cooked we enjoyed cheese bread and a glass of Malbec rose. The board of three meats arrived: ribeye topped with parsley, garlic & oil; sirloin topped with traditional Argentine chimichurri (blend of parsley, garlic, chilli, spring onion, oil & vinegar) and rump solo. All was juicy and tender. Salted fries were thinnish cut, enough to be outwardly crisp and inwardly soft. Extra chimichurri sauce is served too.
The Bottomless Beef & Bottle offer is simple but good quality and good value if you aren’t a tiny eater or drinker. You book a 90 minute table slot. You initially each get a 300g serve of three cuts of beef, fries & chimichurri sauce. You can then order more of the meat you prefer in 100g serves and more fries & sauce – if you have room. Wines and steak cuts do vary seasonally. Just to compare, 400g of sirloin or ribeye à la carte is £33.50 or £34.50, fries £5, chimichurri £3. A 175ml glass of Malbec varies from £8 to £15.
For wines, we tried a glass of the three available – Chardonnay, Malbec rose and Malbec red. All good quality, as you’d expect.
Being lovers of sweets we had desserts, the signature salted dulce de leche cheesecake £9.50 (delicious & rich) and the coconut tres leche – cake made with almond flour and accompanied by cubed fresh pear and pear sorbet £7.50 (lighter choice). All food except ice cream is made freshly on the premises.
Gaucho Smithfield is offering Barbican Association members a 25% discount on à la carte for up to four people on food and drink when dining from Monday to Thursday evenings (not available on other offers or set menus). Please mention Barbican Association discount scheme when booking and show BA card when paying bill.
Gaucho Smithfield, 93A Charterhouse Street, Smithfield, EC1M 6HL Website: https://www.gauchorestaurants.com/restaurants/smithfield/ Tel: 0207 490 1676. Opening hours: Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm Thurs-Fri 11.30am-12am Sat 11am-12am Sun closed