Back in March and May I had two birthdays to celebrate with two best mates. And with these best mates being dudes they wanted to celebrate with a good old hearty steak so I got to sample two of what are considered to be the best steak restaurants around and I thought I would share my thoughts on them with you guys – not being much of a foodie these reviews are more an overall experience rather than whether my steak was cooked to perfection.
The first birthday was that of my not-actually-30-but-29-year-old friend Lee (sorry about the candles), and he’d managed to get dibs on Argentinian steak restaurant Gaucho by London’s Tower Bridge however there are many in and out of London that you can go to; Hampstead, Smithfields, Chancery, Canary Wharf, Manchester, Leeds and even Beirut!
Upon arrival at the restaurant it was pretty apparent that this was a vegetarian’s nightmare – so it was great that we had one in tow.
From the cow-print walls to the slabs of meat being shown around each table I was surprised not to find myself sitting on a re-worked carcass or pulling on a hoof-handle to open the door to the loos. I mean I get it, steak is their thing but it was all a bit too caveman/hunter trophies for me. And to top it all off the moody lighting and black leather booths…well, they may have just had a whole host of topless, alpha males spunking on the seats, so testosterone fuelled was the feel.
As you can imagine, the boys loved it!
And with a celebratory glass of champers in hand and an empty stomach I certainly getting into the decadent swing of things.
After being shown to our table and taken through the different cuts of meat which were hard to see with the aforementioned dim-lighting, we set about selecting our Rump from our Ribeye and poured over the mouth-watering sides.
I can’t lie my meal was delicious but then at the cost of half my month’s rent – I wasn’t really expecting it not to be and would have been thoroughly put out if it had been anything other than amazing. I was also informed that the one vegetarian option of Ravioli was well worth the butchery going on all around.
We were treated really well by the staff who even bought out a pre-purchased cake for the birthday boy, sparklers and all! I would be happy go back but it probably wouldn’t be my choice, it would take another birthday booking or a meat-loving male to get me to saddle up in Gaucho – it’s all a bit too much of a banker’s paradise, too much testosterone, a lot of client schmoozing and everything getting expensed at the end – or really not in our case.
But onto Goodmans…
Still on a ‘man-need-meat’ vibe my friend, Joe spent weeks to-ing and fro-ing for a place to go for his birthday dinner and with Gaucho already a done deal we did our best to get in at the Hawksmoor only to be told it was fully, fully, absolutely definitely 100% booked for the night we wanted.
So the New York steak restaurant Goodman’s was our second choice but it turns out this was by no means was that a bad thing. Located in the middle of Mayfair on Maddox street, I found myself the first one to arrive and sat up at the bar with a champagne cocktail. Much less cowhide on the walls and enough lighting to read the menu I was already feeling Goodman’s a lot more than Gaucho.
When the rest of the party arrived with a seriously sloshed birthday boy I had already picked out what I was having from the menu and with glazed carrots in honey and ginger I was almost more excited about the sides as I was the meat!
The whole feel of the place was a lot less ostentatious than Gaucho with a bit more of an everyday feel about it. There was still something considerably masculine about the place but I guess that’s a given where meats and particularly steak are concerned however it did feel like somewhere you could pop in for a really good lunch and not necessarily just a special occasion.
The staff were once again incredibly attentive and helpful especially during a red-wine/white shirt incident and a lot of loud drunken expletives while the family with two young children watched on in horror. Not only were we not shown the door but by the time it came to paying the bill the shirt was crisp and white and we even managed to sing happy birthday to a pre-purchased cake with sparklers once again.
The bill this time was not as hefty and if you ask me the meal was just as good as Gauchos if not better thanks to the more laid back surroundings. Just do be careful when reading the specials board as we nearly had the whole table each order a portion of the amazingly priced chateaubriand only to realise that the board was just badly written!
I would choose Goodman’s over Gaucho for sure but am still itching to go to the Hawksmoor as I’ve heard this really is the steak restaurant to eat at.
Have you been to either of these? What were your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!