Martin Williams, CEO Gaucho Group sits down for his interview with Marketing Liverpool.

Martin Williams, CEO Gaucho Group sits down for his interview with Marketing Liverpool.

The world’s best steaks, served with Argentinian flair. An exquisite Grade II-listed venue, full of old-money glamour. A late night licence to thrill and luxurious, vintage interiors, for that enviable classical touch. The former ‘Bank of Liverpool’ building comes roaring back to life this week, with the opening of Gaucho Liverpool.

Marketing Liverpool were lucky enough to be given a guided tour and granted an interview with Gaucho Group’s CEO, Martin Williams, on the eve of opening night. This incredibly  atmospheric, new, open plan restaurant and late night venue is bringing even more fine-dining in fabulous high-end surroundings to Liverpool and the Gaucho team super excited to be here.

Martin greets me in Gaucho Liverpool’s stunning reception and then show’s me around the main dining hall, a massive marble pillared structure, lit from above, full of plush velvet seating, luminous mood lighting and intimate table settings, subtlety separated by mirrored modesty panelling.

To get things started, I commence our interview with a light, softball question. How is Martin finding Liverpool? “I love it here. Liverpool is a place that knows how to have a good time. It’s the perfect fit for Gaucho. This restaurant is unique in being our biggest, outside London and it’s definitely our most impressive.”

Gaucho Liverpool's private dining booths and reception seating area.

Gaucho Liverpool’s private dining booths and reception seating area.

Founded 27 years ago, the Gaucho ethos is simple. “Our company is all about the highest quality steaks, in the best surroundings, coupled with excellent service.” As Martin takes me to the back of Gaucho Liverpool’s immense dining hall to their ‘Argentine Beef Bar’, he tells us how his company now also has a new passion, expanding their ethos further.

“Sustainability and operating ethically is really big for us too. Our steaks come from thirty of the best farms in Argentina and we are very proud to tell people that they are all carbon neutral.  From birth through to your plate, our Amazonian re-forestation programme offsets the carbon generated, including all transportation.  Our research shows that the Gaucho customer is attracted to ethical companies who give back to society, and we also work closely with the charity ‘Not For Sale’ which fights modern day slavery.”

An aerial view of Gaucho Liverpool, during the restaurant's press preview evening, on the eve of opening night

An aerial view of Gaucho Liverpool, during the restaurant’s press preview evening, on the eve of opening night.

Martin and I move on to Gaucho Liverpool’s elegant private dining rooms, which make me feel like I have finally arrived. With steak restaurants typically conjuring up images of big burly men tackling giant steaks, in homely surroundings, it’s clear that Gaucho is quite different. I ask Martin to tell me more about the Gaucho customer. What type of clientele is the restaurant designed for?

“We have a broad appeal. You still have your traditional steak lovers, who tend to be men over forty, who really seek out and appreciate the finer things in life. However, with our late-night, live music and events programme, we also attract a younger, fun-seeking crowd, welcoming a large number a younger females. These customers really appreciate the glamourous, aspirational aspect of our venues and that’s part of the reason we chose to invest here in Liverpool.

Gaucho Liverpool's stunning circular art deco drinks bar

Gaucho Liverpool’s stunning circular art deco drinks bar.

We take a seat at Gaucho Liverpool’s impressive circular art deco drinks bar and I ask Martin more about his decision to open a restaurant in Liverpool. What was it that drew the company to the city?

“Firstly we were impressed with the liveliness of Liverpool, the energy that the city has, particularly here on Castle Street, where we’re based. Liverpool has a great restaurant scene and a long-standing tradition and appreciation of high quality restaurants and food from other cultures.

“For us, it was a safe investment, as our Manchester restaurant was already very successful, so we knew we could build upon our pre-existing, strong North West following.  Nevertheless, we were blown away by the quality of historical locations available in Liverpool and the strong cultural offer that the city brought to the table. We looked an India buildings, down the road too, which was also lovely, but we just fell in love with the former ‘Bank of Liverpool’ building. It really has that ‘wow’ factor. It’s something special.

Gaucho Liverpool's imposing and beautifully ornate high ceilings

Gaucho Liverpool’s imposing and beautifully ornate high ceilings.

Martin introduces me to Dimitri Prassinos, the new, General Manager of Gaucho Liverpool and we have a quick conversation about the extensive cocktail and drinks menu. As Dimitri continues about his business, busily preparing the venue for opening night, I ask Martin about Gaucho Liverpool’s new recruits and the availability of talent here in the city.

“We were searching for two elements. Live entertainment and skilled hospitality staff and Liverpool did not disappoint on both fronts. There’s huge amounts creative and musical talent in the city, so we knew that we would be able to put on fantastic shows on our late night Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, where we will be able to open the bar until 1.00am, which is fantastic.

“But having the right talent, front and back of house is absolutely critical to any restaurant, especially Gaucho. There’s a real shortage of qualified hospitality staff in the UK and all over the world at the moment, but we were thrilled to discover that this trend was not reflected here in Liverpool.

Gaucho Liverpool's knowlegable team explain the different steak cuts to Marketing Liverpool

Gaucho Liverpool’s knowlegable team explain the different steak cuts to Marketing Liverpool.

“Through the city’s universities and colleges, Liverpool can offer an array of young, talented people, who were excited to work and develop careers in hospitality and came complete with many of the skills we really depend on. So, in just a short time frame of interviews, we felt very confident we would get the right levels of talent in Liverpool.”

“The city’s business community, football clubs and public sector have also been incredibly supportive and have been enabled us to tap into a whole range of other talents. We’ve been working with local suppliers, PR and marketing agencies and we’ve partnered with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, hosting two opening party fundraisers for them. The welcome has been incredibly warm here and we’re hoping to further embed Gaucho into the fabric of the city, in the future.

Martin shows me around the immaculate but bustling kitchen and I watch the chefs prepare a bewildering variety of different steaks in a variety of different ways, giving me the perfect opportunity to ask about Gaucho Liverpool’s unique menu.

A close-up shot of Gaucho Liverpool's Trufflemac and chips

A close-up shot of Gaucho Liverpool’s Trufflemac and chips.

“We’ve got fantastic steak tartare, speciality cuts, Argentinian classics and plenty of main meal staples, re-created through a Latin American lens. There’s something memorable for everyone. At Gaucho we love to create tantalising dishes, ones that people will talk about afterwards and try to recreate at home. Outside of our speciality beef, there’s also a lot of vegan and vegetarian options and there’s a lot of fish on the menu too, so there’s a whole variety of appealing option, alongside our core offering.”

Already salivating at the culinary sights and enticing aromas all around me in the kitchen, I ask Martin to share his personal menu recommendations with me, as we move back to the main dining hall, with its imposing high ceilings and glass atrium.

“I love all the steaks, so depending on my mood, I’ll select a different steak. If I want something lighter, I love the ‘Churrasco de Chorizo’ (Spiral cut, marinated fillet)). If I’m in the mood for classic comfort food, I opt for the ‘Ancho’ (ribeye steak). My personal recommendation would be to try our steak testing menu at our Argentine Beef Bar. Imagine a sushi bar, but with steak. It’s a great way to experience the variety we offer at Gaucho, helping our customers to better understand the menu and the differences between each dish.”

Speciality cut Churrasco de Lomo

Marketing Liverpool order Gauch Liverpool’s Speciality cut ‘Churrasco de Lomo’ – Spiral cut, marinated in garlic, parsley and olive oil.

As the last tables are set, chairs repositioned and silver wear given a final re-polish, Martin and I head behind the drinks bar and up a hidden staircase, to the dancefloor located on top of the bar. It’s here that our conversation turns to the tango and Goucho Liverpool’s already palpable, dramatic ambience, built around the red-blooded, full-bodied passion of the Latin American culture – with a modern twist.

“We want to totally reimagine and redefine what people think of when they ‘go out for steak’. Live music and song give people that feeling of wanting to get up and move and have a good time, and socialise and this is very important to the Gaucho experience.

“In terms of interior design, here in Gaucho Liverpool, we’ve borrowed the best from the tango halls of Argentina and we’re also been influenced by the natural beauty of the building. We’ve retained all these beautiful, original, art deco features and marble structures that Liverpool’s Old Bank already had and the overall impact is quite immersive. Both styles complement each other incredibly well, whilst offering something original and very opulent and glamourous. I really can’t wait for people to see it.”

Gauch Liverpool's Wine Tasting area

Gauch Liverpool’s Wine Tasting area.

For our final stop (and a parting drink). Martin and I head to the back of the main dining hall to Gaucho Liverpool’s refined wine tasting area, as Martin sums up Gaucho Liverpool’s ultimate appeal.

“We’re fanatical about our wines and our steaks and we take great care and pride in developing our wine lists and menus. It takes real dedicationnand and commitment to create a restaurant like Gaucho Liverpool. If feels amazing to bring this historic building back to its former glory and to continue its story, with a bold new chapter.

“This is a very unique venue, which we think will appeal to young people and particularly females. Your average steak houses can generally be quite stuffy but here it’s quite the opposite. Gaucho Liverpool is really sexy and cool.

“When you think about the best night out you’ve ever had, you think about the food, the drink, the entertainment, the service, the surroundings – and of course the company. Here in Liverpool, with your open, passionate and friendly people, we’re highly confident we can deliver all of these things.

“Our view is really clear. Argentine beef is simply the best in the world. We want the people and tourists of Liverpool to experience it. So book now. Come, drink, dine, and dance. Feel the carefree, fun-loving atmosphere of an Argentinian evening and have the night of your life at Gaucho Liverpool.”

For more information and to book visit the Gaucho Liverpool website HERE.