Intended as "a celebration of all things beef", Argentine restaurant chain Gaucho held its annual Divine Bovine dinner this week at its Piccadilly branch. Those lucky enough to secure a seat at this sold-out event were treated to five courses, two masterclasses, some poetry and no small amount of Argentinean-themed booze.
The night was kicked off with mini empanadas served with Gaucho Bocharov cocktails (imagine Patagonian Harvey Wallbangers) before one of Gaucho's chefs demonstrated how to make their signature steak tartare in under 2 minutes. Their tips? Use rump which has been sliced and diced before being minced.
From raw meat, we graduated to cold cuts with Gaucho Vitel Tone (thinly sliced veal) served with capers, olives and egg in a creamed sauce. The next course was preceded by a presentation on different cuts of beef unfortunately not by a real animal but by two chefs with one bent double over a chopping board (no comment). After that, the night's highlight was served: a 300g hunk of churrasco de lomo with creamed corn served in a corn husk. The spiral cut meat was marinated and grilled to perfection, both tender and awe-inspiringly tasty.
The attendees were an electic bunch. On our table, we were entertained by Harry Eyres, the Financial Times columnist and published poet who regaled us with tales of Yeats, Horace and unrequited love, and the 7th Baron de Mauley who thankfully was appearing as his alter ego Rupert Ponsonby, PR honcho and co-co-ordinator of tonight's event. (We say thankfully as its terribly hard to eat and tug one's forelock at the same time.) Ponsonby humorously tied up proceedings by reciting his self-penned Ode To A Cow, a Burns Night-inspired paean to the evening's patron animal-cum-tasty food source, while we delved into the dessert dulce de leche volcano.
Beef lovers may also be interested in the carvery course at Simpsons-On-The-Strand.