Review: Argentinean afternoon tea at Gaucho Piccadilly

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Daniel Lewis

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Daniel Lewis - Credit: Archant

Afternoon tea is something more associated with top notch Mayfair hotels, but Gaucho has given an Argentinean twist to the traditional English pastime.

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Daniel Lewis

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Daniel Lewis - Credit: Archant

I’d normally associate Gaucho with rare steak eating on a glamorous night out , but the opulent surroundings of the flagship Piccadilly branch in Swallow Street makes it the perfect spot to while away a few hours with a friend and escape the bustle of the city, with its black walls, chandeliers and zebra-print couches.

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Emma Bartholomew

Afternoon tea at Gaucho, photo Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

Restaurant manager Diego cracked open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose champagne for us before we began the first part of our feast – scone and sweet Argentine Alfajores biscuits sandwiched with dulche de leche – an Argentinean staple we soon discovered.

I was pleased to see the traditional English clotted cream still making an appearance, along with little pots of jam and yet more dulce de leche, which is a nicer version of condensed milk.

Diego made us feel very at home, filling us in with stories from his native Argentina, and his enthusiasm left us planning a polo holiday there.

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We could choose between English Breakfast, Earl Grey Lavender, Jasmine Silver Needle, Peppermint and Blood Orange teas, but we stuck to the Argentinean theme, trying the Yerba Mate tea, which Diego told us is a real tradition in Argentina and is always offered to guests.

With a slightly smoky smell, it tastes similar to green tea without the bitterness, and apparently it’s rich in antioxidants and is known for enhancing your ability to focus and improve your physical endurance.

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An impressive double-tiered tray of petite cakes and savouries wowed us with savoury samplers like choripán with chipotle chutney and wweet Romero pepper, and then brioche with Lomito carpaccio topped with chimichurri - both hits with me.

The carefully crafted patisseries from chef Veronica Strauss include Argentine chocolate cake, dulce de leche cheesecake and raspberry and custard eclairs.

The sumptuous offering would make a perfect start to a hen party, and also a nice “experience present” for that special someone who already has everything they need.

Go light on breakfast that day and don’t plan a big meal - the cakes may be bite-sized, but there are a lot of them and the dolce de leche packs a punch.

The afternoon tea is available at Gaucho Piccadilly on weekends between 1pm to 4pm, prices start from £30 per person, and with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose it costs £46.

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