Happily fitting into Hampstead’s array of eateries is Argentinian specialist Gaucho. From its signature crepuscular restaurant, we headed for its newly revamped summer terrace Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which takes the noir theme outdoors and adds splashes of white, crisp linens and clambering wallflowers as a nod to summertime.
From here we sampled what was to come from its summer cocktail menu via a cocktail master class undertaken by director of bars, Dan Munt. Under the battleship grey skies looming above, Dan explained how he shied away from current trends in cocktails to mix bitter and heavy tastes and instead went for more seasonal flavours using herbs and flowers.
And these little numbers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ dressed with tequila from agave cactus, alongside viridecent shots of pear and avocado, worked well. Other wonders included a rosemary syrup and blood orange mix, which were mixed with a rather rare vodka from Iceland twice filtered through lava rock.
The skies brightened up and we were soon outside again. This time to enjoy some of the most beautifully crafted steaks. Lovingly prepared Argentinian-sourced Angus beef was grilled to perfection on its outdoor asado grill Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a large charcoal oven.
Head of Grills, Fernando Larroude, tells me the free-to-roam cattle are chosen from 45 handpicked estancias (farms), which still move cattle from one grassland to another using gauchos on horseback. The beef is then wet-aged, giving it a lighter texture than the denser dry-aged beef we usually get here. And the proof is in the tasting.
The steaks were so succulent; mouthfuls just pink enough inside, slide in and seem to melt there. Fernando finishes adds a garnish of the rustic Argentinian accompaniment chimichurri. This, he describes as, Ã¢â‚¬Å“salt, parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil, Aji Molido Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an Argentinian chill flake and lots of loveÃ¢â‚¬Â. Indeed.
For lovers of beef and well-crafted cocktails Ã¢â‚¬â€œ head outside for one of Gaucho’s al fresco steaks and you will not be disappointed.
Gaucho Hampstead Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 64 Heath Street, London, NW3 1DN