Gaucho, in 7th Street Linden, opened its doors just before lockdown in 2020. This meant that I had not eaten there before the world(and specifically our suburb) was changed forever. Going to Argentina to savour the food is certainly out of the question for the foreseeable future but it turns out that this dinner was the next best thing. Some of my regular readers might wonder why I am including a local restaurant in my Travel & Things Blog. The reason is simple, the experience was authentic and aside from looking out over the local Primary School playing field, we could well have been in Buenos Aires!
Understated elegance, a reduction in the number of tables and all the required COVID-19 protocols were in place and enforced the night that my wife and I ate there. Temperature, masks for guests and staff and contact phone numbers were all recorded before we were seated. Gaucho has an intimate outdoor seating area in front. Separated from both the pavement and the interior of the restaurant by two rows of plants, it allowed my wife and me to feel secure in a situation where interiors are to be avoided at all costs. That being said, the main portion of Gaucho is open so that nothing, except possibly the bar in the rear of the space, is actually completely indoors.
A sign of the times? Sanitiser on all the tables… The new norm? Or just the current norm? Who knows, I certainly don’t, but it would be interesting to find out just how much of this liquid the restaurant utilizes every week.
Gaucho Loaded Fries.
A bed of golden crispy fries topped with roasted brisket slices. Drizzled in chimichurri verde.
OMG…This was a taste, the likes of which we have never tasted before! My wife and I shared this as a starter at the insistence of the manager and he was both right and wrong to do so. Yes, it is a dish for sharing, but it is more like a main than a starter. To try to describe the flavour profile of what looks, on paper, to be discordant, would be to do it a disservice. It has to be experienced to be enjoyed fully.
And enjoy it fully we did! Not a morsel remained. If there were not staff and diners on either side of us, I am certain that we would have licked our plates clean. THAT is how much we enjoyed this.
Chimichurri Verde, Chimichurri Rojo. We were uncertain as to which to try, so taster portions of both were presented to us on the most delicious bread.
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass.
Served with toasted almond salsa. Who would have thought that eating at what is ostensibly a meat restaurant would be encouraged? But this particular dish was first mentioned by some friends who eat here regularly and the manager, so who were we to argue?
Served with a side, my wife chose the Bean, corn and avocado salad.
When last were YOU offered a real fish knife? If the Devil is in the details, then he (she) certainly had a hand in the cutlery department.
Gaucho does not mess around when it comes to portion sizes. I have no idea who would eat a 600g steak, but I certainly did not want to attempt that. My 300g fillet was done to perfection and it, like the fish, was shared. More than enough for two.
And my side? Creamed Spinach with sautéed onion and Parmesan cheese.
This blur of movement was the kitchen staff attempt to keep up with the orders flooding in. The kitchen space is small (think the size of a train kitchen) but it produces the most amazing dishes at extraordinary speed. That being said, Gaucho is not advertised as a fast food outlet. It is a place to go when time has no meaning and the whole adventure, both the food and the ambience can be enjoyed in a relaxed stress-free environment.
This is the magician in front of the flames. James is an expert in making certain that you get your food exactly the way that you ordered it. BTW, Cooking an open flame is worlds apart from cooking a braai in your garden.
Bread and Butter Pudding. Finally, something I recognized. And a dessert that reminded me of my childhood. Although the bread used in this dish was not old government white bread, which is what we got when I was growing up. This is an upmarket, adult dessert.
Argentinian doughnut holes with dulce de leche.
Something that my tastebuds were not ready for. My brain read caramel and my taste buds prepared for cooked condensed milk, which, of course, dulce de leche, is not. It took me a while to get my head and my palate to get into sync. My wife, on the other hand, seemed to know what awaited her and she enjoyed every mouthful.
And finally, to round off an excellent meal…cappuccino, of course!
Contact details: 087 655 4480
Monday – Friday 09:00 – 21:00
Saturday – 08:00 – 21:00
Sunday – 09:00 – 16:00
And the reason for the meal…to celebrate my wife birthday. The explosion of flowers was created by Plantation Revival, which can be found just around the corner in 3rd Ave.
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