I had another business Christmas dinner last night. As I run my own business, it was a small affair – just myself, and the other director, @FrankDJS. We kept it local and went – for the first time, amazingly – to our local Gaucho, in Canary Wharf. I spent my afternoon looking forward to a good hoping of Argentinian steak.
I’ll be honest – it didn’t get off to a good start. Despite booking well in advance, we were given a pokey table in a corner next to the entrance to the kitchen. When I asked if we could find a less “second class” table, I was told that “some people actually want to sit next to the kitchen”. Hmm.
We were then moved to a table right next to the front door, which meant blasts of freezing Thames air every time a diner arrived or left. The look on our faces after just a couple of minutes meant we were moved to a table at the window. Away from the kitchen, away from the draughts and with a superb view of the river and Christmas lights.
I’m not a ‘table snob’, but the restaurant was nowhere near full and I didn’t think we were so offensive to the average eye that we needed to be hidden at the back, like an embarrassing drunk uncle.
Cue one excellent meal. I had a trio of empanadas (beef, spinach and stilton, ham) which were superb. @FrankDJS had a crab tostada, which looked delicious and based on the appreciative noises he made while eat, I’d say it hit the spot.
We then shared the chateaubriand, all 700g of it. Cooked perfectly, served with a nice selection of sides (the dauphinoise potatoes also had stilton – a delicious twist), it kept us happily munching for some time.
We didn’t need it – after that plateful, who would?! – but we had desert. A dulche de leche cheesecake and coffee. An excellent end to an enjoyable meal. The service (after table snafu) was very friendly and attentive – big thanks to Larissa who guided us through our various meaty options!
Definitely worth a return visit. But not on a Friday night – it was all a little post-work-drinks loud. I’m obviously getting old, but I like to be able to have a chat over dinner without getting hoarse. (Yes, I’m getting old!) I realise it makes me sound like Abe Simpson, but being surrounded by people who’ve never developed an ‘indoors voice’ and who were fuelled with cocktails meant we were competing to be heard.
Definitely not the Gaucho’s fault, just the perils of dining out in Canary Wharf early on a Friday evening. I was intrigued to see the constant stream of Deliveroo drivers picking up Gaucho packages from the front door – maybe next time we’ll get it delivered, to avoid the office crowd…