This Swallow Street steakhouse is part of the UK-wide restaurant chain, and is staffed by an international bunch of fashionistas, but what Gaucho lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in quality. From the Argentinian-style cheesy breads to the dulce de leche pancakes, via the succulent empanadas, meat and fish dishes, the food is impeccably sourced and carefully prepared.
The main event is the beef; before the meal, a waiter comes over with the five main steak cuts and explains how they’re best served and accompanied. If you want the meatiest meat, choose ribeye, though the fillet is heavenly for those frightened of fat. Service is attentive and can verge on the invasive, especially at the Piccadilly and Richmond outposts – have a polite word and the waiters will back off.
The truly impressive wine list is pricey, but the house malbec is usually excellent. The newest branch is in Smithfield, bringing meat to London’s carnopolis, as it were, and there’s an O2 outlet where show-goers can hire a private suite.
Even more lavish, the Hampstead branch has a private dining room (and a lovely outside space), and you can hire your own sommelier and grill chef – for a hefty sum.