What? A Latin influenced British brasserie proving that Camden is more than just a home to punks and tourists. With dedicated ground-floor bar space and first-floor dining, Gabeto takes modern brasserie to meet industrial chic, feeling quite at home in its location tucked into the side of Camden market.
New? Camden has seen plenty of new arrivals this year, including Launched at the start of July, Gabeto is still pretty new to the dining scene, but seems to be making positive waves. The bar, certainly, has already developed a following – whilst we were whisked upstairs to the dining area, the party appeared to be kicking off below, (because really what better way to celebrate Latin influence than the influence of a few mojitos) – with all the signs of a great weekend atmosphere.
Where? Gabeto, Chalk Farm Road, Camden NW1 8AH
On the menu: Gabeto offers breakfast to bar food, and everything in between, in interesting flavour combinations that attempt to blend Latin inspiration with British brasserie dining – think chorizo scotch egg with smashed avocado, and ham hock terrine with choron sauce and chilli tomato. The heart of the menu is without a doubt the wood-fired meat mains. The oven produces a real selection of options, including cider-brined chicken, grilled marinated king prawns, and mojo pork tenderloin – but if we were to recommend anything, it’s the Galician steak, dry-aged for 30-40 days, and a real show-stopper.
The look: The usual barriers tried to keep us and a much anticipated meal at Gabeto apart – a Northern line suspension, a citymapper betrayal, you know the drill – but thankfully, we arrived only a (few) minutes later than planned, albeit slightly warm from a well-paced walk amongst the rabble at Camden Town. Inside the party had already started, and the carnival vibe matched the fun interior; Gabeto is very much Camden industrial renovation meets insta-friendly fluorescent lighting and features. Bare brickwork sits alongside turf covered walls, enormous paintings by Camden Lock bridge painter, John Bulley, and the words ‘hello gorgeous’ glowing in pink mean the brasserie feel comes through largely in its smart menu, and stylish leather seating.
What we ate: In a classic case of the grass is always greener, my guest out-selected me at every turn. Starting with the ham hock terrine, which was pleasant but not particularly flavoursome, I jumped into a safe bet with main – the Galician beef burger, which was satisfying but not life-changing. In light of which, we can reimagine the evening as if I’d made the smart selections of my guest; Cornish crab and avocado to start, and the Galician sirloin steak for main course. If it’s anything to go by, their starter was fully demolished before I got the opportunity to try it. The steak, however, was in a whole new realm of delicious that just had to be shared to be appreciated – it was tender, succulent and perfectly sized to enjoy with a side. It truly was luscious, and a quick glance at the menu explains why; the Galician steaks are cuts from Spanish cows, left to wander the hills of Galicia for up to fifteen years before being dry-aged for thirty to forty days. The result is steak with an intensely deep flavour, cooked to mouthwatering perfection in the wood-fires of Gabeto, and we couldn’t recommend it more. In an attempt to counteract my guest’s winning choices, we shared a dessert – churros with salted caramel and chocolate sauce, bringing a sweet end to a very enjoyable meal.
What we drank: Our first choice of red being unavailable, the waitress suggested an Argentinian Malbec, and the understudy stole the show. Far from being wine connoisseurs, it was clear to us that Gabeto have thoughtfully curated all their menus – and would we expect anything less from Lee Andrews, head chef, after previously heading up London greats like The Chiltern Firehouse. The bottle was enjoyed very easily alongside succulent meat mains and for a second choice, we were very impressed. Gabeto also has a dedicated mixologist, and had we stayed to dance the night away there was plenty of luxurious sounding options; the Malhatten – Dufftown Sunray, Alberto Rosso, Belsazar rosé, and chocolate and walnut bitters – had my name written all over it.
Go with: Best friends, boyfriends, old friends – evening Gabeto has a distinctly youthful vibe and weekends feature music, heaps of cocktails and dancing, plus tasty bar food to keep you going late into the evening. The Saturday night feeling when we visited was enthusiastic, and had all the makings of a somewhat boozy evening with friends that could lead to a bigger night out.
Final word: With starters and desserts outshone by fantastic mains, Gabeto is perhaps not 3-course perfection, but it averages out to a very good meal. Generous portions and a fabulously matched bottle of wine meant we probably could have just stuck to main courses and been satisfied, maybe following up with a move downstairs, to enjoy the attractive cocktail menu for the full experience. To call Gabeto a must-visit for the steak-lover would be to undersell it, for anyone who appreciates a carefully cooked meat dish – we dare you to try it, and not become a Galician convert.
Gabeto: Gabeto Camden Market, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH