Doggy Sunday at the Gaucho Grill

Since our lovely pooch Amber joined our household in January, we have been finding out how difficult it is, in a nation (allegedly) of dog lovers, to actually find places where a dog is welcome. Forget food shops and supermarkets, and see how difficult it is to even take your pooch with you when shopping for non-groceries or going to the bank. 
Thankfully there are a few dog friendly retailers and also a few restaurants. The website Doggity is a good help to find a local pub or restaurant but it is also good to ask a non-listed venue if your pooch is welcome, and based on the type of dog and his / her behavior, you will be able to enjoy a nice brunch with your furry friend. This way, we’ve taken her to our local favourites such as The Table, The Garrison and The Laughing Gravy’s terrace. Yet nothing has been as dog friendly as the Hampstead Branch of the Gaucho Grill. Here, manager Jorge has had the brilliant idea of organizing Doggy Sundays. The first Sunday of every month, the restaurant is transformed in a themed, dog heaven. For £35 each human guest enjoys a three course meal and a cocktail while the four legged guests get a personalized bowl of water and snacks and a fun playground to meet new friends and toys. Moreover, Jorge donates £5 per attending dog to an animal charity, usually Battersea Cats and Dogs home.

 

We visited on one of the hottest Sundays this year, when Murray was going to play the Wimbledon final which saw him win the title for Britain after 77 years. 

The theme for day was of course, Grand Slam. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! When we arrived and gave Amber’s name, we were escorted to the terrace at the back of the venue, where the middle floor had been covered in astro turf and a mini tennis court was set up, with balls and racquets everywhere. At the back, sun loungers for humans and a pool for dogs (jealous!). We found our table, perfectly positioned to watch the tennis on the screen, and with a little apprehension, we took Amber off the leash. Soon she was scurrying around the place (with a couple of dashes towards the front door which saw us panicking and rushing after her). Quite quickly the place was a complete hilarious mayhem – dogs loved it, making friends, splashing in the pool, eating each other’s treats and meeting new human friends too. Despite the fun chaos, we managed to enjoy our meal too! 
A refreshing and light sharing platter of 3 types of ceviche, a large portion of steak (I chose sirloin) and sides, including the delicious humitas, and finally a summery strawberry cheesecake. I opted for a Grand Slam cocktail while @bmcboy went for a glass of bubbly.

 

Judging by the number of people not only on the terrace but also inside the restaurant (and number of dogs!), the Doggy Sundays are very popular, and why not? It’s a great idea and for dog owners out there, a perfect way to enjoy a meal without having to worry about their pet’s behavior (too much). Everyone around you loves dogs so if your friendly pooch is licking someone or checking out their legs, it’s fine. It’s not the most relaxing experience but it is indeed a lot of fun and it’s fun to watch all these furry friends in such a ‘social’ environment. The waiting staff is absolutely brilliant and manages to serve the food and drink quickly and without accidents despite the running around happening all over. You even get a posh ‘doggy bag’ to take home with treats and dog related info.

The only caveat is that if your dog is a bit delicate or too young (like our Amber), it might be worth watching what he/she eats or drinks…if at all possible. Unfortunately she had a bad tummy the following day, so we’ll need to wait until she’s a bit older to take her back. But we’ll definitely be back.  Well done @GauchoJorge !

Gaucho Grill Hampsted branch
64 Heath St  London, Greater London NW3 1DN

Sustainable? 
Unfortunately I was too busy to ask about the fish provenance!

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