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In the market for a high-quality steak? Gabeto moves into the Stables

With adventurous dishes and mean cocktails, Gabeto could be set to challenge the titans of Camden Market

12 October, 2017 — By Tom Moggach

The menu at Gabeto comprises mainly Latin crowd-pleasers

IT sounds like a mythical battle – Gilgamesh versus Shaku Zulu, the two titans of Camden Market.

Both these restaurants are gigantic beasts – 500 covers or more – catering mainly to a mix of tourists, out-of-towners and party groups.

I’ve not yet visited. As a local, they don’t hugely appeal. But the launch of Gabeto, another large venue in Stables Market, piqued my interest. The name, apparently, is a colloquial Spanish term for “our house”.

This is a cavernous, two-floor building that functions as an all-day bar, restaurant and events space. A large all-weather terrace spills out onto the market itself.

We popped in for dinner – a time when the market has a ghostly feel once the crowds have slipped away.

Upstairs, above the bar and club space, is the restaurant itself. The artist John Bulley, who painted the iconic Camden Lock Bridge, has created a series of large paintings that run along one brick wall.

These are bold and feisty: skewwhiff faces and figures in bright colours, daubed with slogans such “Art is Joy; Joy is Art” or “You’re So Weird (Don’t Change)”.

Coloured strip lightbulbs hang down vertically, like stalactites, from the high vaulted ceiling of this impressive Victorian building.

The food menu is a mix of adventurous dishes and crowd-pleasers, mostly with a Latin edge.

Expect steak, a range of tacos, cider-brined chicken, fish and chips, grilled octopus or, among other things, an elaborate dish of smoked cauliflower with cauliflower purée, girolles, Romanesco cauliflower, baby aubergine and truffle.

The meal didn’t start well. We watched one table enjoy the ceremony of “Guac on the Block”, where a waitress wielding a large pestle and mortar prepared a fresh guacamole from scratch.

Ours arrived ready-made: a scoop straight from the fridge, far too cold for the flavours to sing. The “house nachos”, too, appeared to be straight from the packet.

Another starter – a mango salad – sounded intriguing on paper. But this turned out to be a green salad threaded with pulpy mango, with a blizzard of grated coconut on top. This cost £12.

Other starters include smoked salmon, ham hock terrine, crispy squid and a chorizo scotch egg.

Main courses were better. Gabeto offers a choice of rare breed British or Galician beef, seared on a wood-fired grill.

The latter is on-trend in London: meat from mature Galician cattle up to 15 years in age, which results in a remarkable depth of flavour.

Our rib-eye, served medium rare, was high quality and cost an eye-watering £35 for 300g. Sauces include chimichurri, mojo, and salsa verde.

My friend’s tuna was also cooked well: rosy pink in the middle, paired with a mango and lime salsa.

On the weekday we visited, Gabeto was far from full. As a result, the atmosphere was somewhat muted. If you crave a lively night out, best try the weekend. Gabeto serves a mean cocktail, hosts DJs on Friday and Saturday night and a Cuban band every Sunday.

Gabeto
The Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road, NW1
020 7424 0692
www.gabeto.co.uk

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