In a nutshell
Buenos Aires inspired food with fantastic grass-fed Argentinian steaks and a signature chimichurri.
Sister chain to the GAUCHO restaurants with the same great steaks, but more of a casual experience.
A team of steak-loving grill-fiends is the only way to describe this efficient and passionate team of staff.
We ordered four small plates as a starter between two: the picada (a board of Argentinian charcuterie), yerba-smoked beef, sticky glazed ribs and the chicken antichuchos skewers. But check with your server as some small plates are more filling than others – and you definitely want to leave room for a huge steak.
We both ordered chips with our steaks, then shared a side salad which seemed to work well.
Despite the impressive looking burgers coming out of the kitchen, I tried the Tira De Ancho steak – a spiral cut rib eye, so you get more of the beautifully flavoured crust, and more surface area for the chimichurri marinade that was packed with vinegar, herbs and garlic to cut though the rich and robust steak flavours. Super tender, the sharp chimichurri was all you needed with this meat. My dining partner had the Lomito, a fillet of rump that was delicately flavoured, meltingly soft, and accompanied by a rich blue cheese sauce.
What we’re going back for
After ordering, we were told that the belly of pork tempura is the best selling small plate. So we’ll be back to check out this intriguing combination of soft slow cooked pork and crisp tempura batter. The truffled mac & cheese looked like an interesting side to a steak, definitely worth a try. And the Sunday lunch was tempting – a generous helping of roast rump of beef, beef fat roasties, red wine gravy and quirky onion rings for £15pp.
What’s the room like?
The room is modern and minimalistic with stand out graphics on the walls; grass prints and corrugated white plastic. There are white pvc benches and cloud lightshades. We sat next to the window, which was open as it was a beautiful day. There’s a beautiful view over the marina, but tables were so close along the front of the restaurant if I leant back at the same time as the diner behind we would have clashed heads. People walking past was a little disconcerting too; there were centimeters between my meal and their shoulders (all the restaurants on this strip of the dock are set out in a similar style). The restaurant goes quite far back though – perfect for lunch meetings with a few small plates, or a cosy steak dinner date for two.
Need to know
The food arrived quicker than expected. We had a cocktail to start, planning on ordering wine with our main, but next time I’d choose a bottle before ordering food as you don’t have much time in between courses. Nevertheless, our Andeluna ‘1300’ Malbec from Mendoza went down very easily.
Check out their brunch menu if you like the sound of Buenes Aires style food, but don’t enjoy steak – the signature breakfast looks like a full English, but with a few twists. Sweet potato and chorizo hash would be a great hangover cure, and eggs benedict get a drizzle of acidic chimichurri.
Sunday lunch is between 12pm-6pm. Arrive early, and hungry.
What we loved
Staff knew the menu inside and out, they were polite when we asked to move the table back a little, and delightfully friendly. The steaks lived up to their sibling’s reputation, but small plates were a little underwhelming – the chicken skewers lacked punch and chilli. The picada chacuterie was delicious: thinly shaved meats, including paprika cured sausages and peppery salami. Capers and roasted red pepper slices on the side were a little unimaginative, though.
The wine list is worth a second glance after one of their signature cocktails. The majority of wines are Argentinian (naturally), although there is a separate list for Malbecs, too. The perfect accompaniment to a steak.
The dessert menu dripped with dulche du leche and included pancakes, three-milk cake and an alfajores ice cream sandwich – delicate, crumbly biscuits filled with chocolate studded ice cream and desiccated coconut, and of course, a liberal drizzle of dulche du leche. Ask for two spoons, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth order this and the churros to share.
There’s a CAU cornflake ice cream sundae… I’m not sure what they haven’t missed out of this invention: cornflake ice cream, cornflakes, chocolate brownie and dulce de leche. Maybe it should be on the brunch menu instead?
By Anna Glover
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