Midnight feats conjure up images of slippered feet creeping downstairs, eager to discover what treats lurk in the dead of the night – Enid Blyton’s Famous Five searching for jam sandwiches and Ovaltine.
But show up to Gaucho, Manchester in your PJs and you may be given some funny looks.
The Argentinian restaurant recently launched their first ever series of Midnight Feasts, served every Saturday between 11pm and 1am.
Aiming to cater for demand for late-night dining, the menu is a little more high brow than the usual after hours choice of greasy pizza or hear-attack-inducing kebab .
Following a cocktail from the extensive bar menu, we were shown to our cow-hide covered seats and a shared plate of Beef & chilli popcorn kicked off proceedings.
It was a little too dry for my tastes but what do I know? I’m just a heathen who takes their popcorn in cardboard buckets. The beef and the chilli parts of the dish were delicious, just wish the popcorn hadn’t showed up to this particular party – sorry popcorn, back in your box.
Next up from the four courses, a Ceviche dog – a combination of raw fish marinated in citrus juice and spices.
It reminded me of a posh prawn cocktail on a flatbread and was utterly delicious. Don’t be put off by the raw fish element – try it! You won’t be disappointed.
As we waited for our next course, acoustic duo, Katie and Johnny, continued to entertain both customers who were still dining and those easing of their dinner in the bar. Their mix of songs from the 60s, 70s and present day set a relaxed mood – perfectly match to low lighting and laid-back vibe.
A trio of savoury sweets, designed to tantalise our taste-buds arrived next. Lomo lolly pop (tenderloin of beef rolled into a lollypop shape with Chimichurri inside), Humita cones (a waffle cone with pureed sweetcorn which looked like an ice cream) and candied mixed beet root. The beef was tender with just the right amount of kick to not leave you feeling uneasy when it was time for bed. The sweetcorn was light and moorish and the beetroot gave a much-need zing.
By now, feeling a little full, having had to wait a little longer than usual to eat, I had rushed the previous courses somewhat, but how glad I am that I saved space for the fourth and final instalment.
Dessert arrived in a similar guise to the main, except this time the sweets were just that.
Dulce de leche candy floss formed a playful centre piece alongside Dulce de leche ice cream in a waffle cone and Dulce de leche panna cotta
The dreamy pieces of cloud-like fluff melted in the mouth and the ice cream and panna cotta were as smooth as they come.
I can imagine that Gaucho will take full advantage of Manchester’s theatre and music audiences looking for a late-night after show feast.
And what a feast it is!
To Book: 2A St Mary’s St, Manchester, M3 2LB 0161 833 4333. £35 a head, Saturdays only. Parking available at House of Fraser and NCP Deansgate