Food review: Chocolate Week at Gaucho, Picadilly

Braised beef cheeks

Braised beef cheeks - Credit: Archant

If I tried adding some squares of Milky Way and a few drops of vanilla essence to my mash at home, I can only imagine the effect would send my kids retching.

Gaucho in Picadilly

Gaucho in Picadilly - Credit: Archant

But somehow executive dessert chef Pamela Villar has pulled off the concept of white chocolate and vanilla mash potato as part of a carefully crafted menu including chocolate in every course, marking chocolate week at Argentinean eatery Gaucho.

The main course on the chocolate meal at Gaucho

The main course on the chocolate meal at Gaucho - Credit: Archant

The potato perfectly compliments a main course of the most succulent pork belly and crackling, flavoured with a hint of fennel, alongside a side dish of yet more pork in a dark chocolate matambre, much like a slow cooked stew.

It’s common in South America to use chocolate in savoury dishes, and it’s not as sickly as it sounds as Ms Villar has managed to keep it subtle and just the right side of sweet.

My favourite course was the braised beef cheeks starter with lamb sweetbread popcorn in almonds and breadcrumbs, humita and chocolate jus.

I can only now dream of the humita, a crushed creamy sweetcorn mash, which blended with the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-infused beef.

Dessert presented yet another perfect harmony of textures, with a lemony white chocolate mouse and milk chocolate crumble, and a chocolate basket with almond praline and berries.

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The chocolate menu is only running for a limited period but if it’s anything to go by, it’s worth heading back to see what else Gaucho can conjure up.

From the moment you walk into its plush, darkly cavernous interior you feel like you’re basking in decadent opulence and the service from the charming staff there is top notch.

The Chocolate Menu is available at all 14 Gaucho restaurants in London, Manchester and Leeds, which all celebrated National Chocolate Week during from October 14-20.

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