No Ivy restaurant for Liverpool, but Argentinian steak is on the menu

Back in May, we told you about Hawksmoor’s plans to open a restaurant in the Grade II-listed India Buildings, on the corner of Brunswick Street and Fenwick Street. Now the business district is set to get another steakhouse, as Gaucho Restaurants has had planning permission for a new site approved by Liverpool City Council.

The Liverpool restaurant will capture the group’s vibrancy, elegance, and passion for the cultural and culinary heritage of modern Argentina.

Gaucho first opened in London in 1994, taking inspiration from Argentina with a vision of bringing the world’s best steak to London. The first restaurant was considered to be “off the beaten track” on Swallow Street. This same site (but now the entire building) is now home to the flagship Gaucho restaurant, Piccadilly.

Gaucho Steakhouse Liverpool 7 Water Street Il Palazzo2
7 Water Street and an annoyingly positioned truck Image: Confidentials

The modest basement restaurant quickly became known for offering world class, traditional Argentine beef and an unusual Latin wine list in a casual setting. The Gaucho collection of restaurants in the UK has grown to twelve in London and four regional sites in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. You can read our review of Gaucho Manchester here.

20200225 Gaucho Manchester Bg
Gaucho in Manchester

Gaucho has now had plans approved to open a restaurant at 7 Water Street in Liverpool. It's a building with a fascinating history. The planning application, submitted by Greyside Planning, says, “In the early 19th Century the site was occupied by the Talbot Inn which later became known as the Talbot Hotel. By the mid-19th Century, the Inn/Hotel had changed its use to become the Bank of England. 

“The original Bank of England Building occupied less than half of the existing footprint which included the Water Street entrance and Lower Castle Street entrance. By 1893, the bank had acquired the property that had been occupied by the Glasgow Steam Packet Company in the corner of Water Street and Fenwick Street and either extended or rebuilt the Water Street frontage.

Gaucho Steakhouse Liverpool 7 Water Street Il Palazzo1
The front section of the building was remodelled in the 1930s Image: Confidentials

The application continues, “In 1896 the premises was rebuilt by the Bank of Liverpool with a design that appears to be based on the Palazzo Pompei at Verona. From the 1920’s the bank was known as Martins Bank until the Bank was acquired by the National Provincial Bank and in the 1930's the building was remodelled. In the 1960’s the National and Provincial Bank merged with the National Westminster Bank and in 1982 the building was purchased by Norwich Union, now Aviva.

“By the 1990’s the building had been converted to serviced offices and known as Il Palazzo. The offices closed in 2015 and the building has been vacant since.”

One of the quirky features of 7 Water Street is the pair of tiger’s heads mounted on the external doors. Legend has it that lascar sailors, of which there were many in Liverpool in the late 1800s, used to come and rub the tiger’s teeth for good luck - hence why they look a bit more worn and shiny than the rest of the head.

Lascar Sailors Tiger Head Bank Liverpool 7 Water Street Doors
The bronze tiger heads Image: Confidentials

In 2020, restaurant group Troia had plans approved to open a Liverpool branch of The Ivy inside the building but it seems that project never went beyond the paperwork. 

Gaucho’s planning application was submitted by Greyside Planning in February and approved in June. Internal works will be done to enable the ground floor and basement to be used as a restaurant including two private dining rooms, a central bar, and an open servery. Externally, minimal alterations are proposed to the fabric of the building.

Gaucho says the new Liverpool restaurant will have 194 covers and capture the restaurant group’s vibrancy, elegance, and passion for the cultural and culinary heritage of modern Argentina. Gaucho Liverpool will open in November 2022.

Gaucho Liverpool, 7 Water St, Liverpool L2 0RD

*Article last updated 7/10/2022

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