GAUCHO Grill in Glasgow has closed just three years after the restaurant chain chose the city for its first foray outside London.

Plans to open at least seven others Gaucho Grills in Scotland and create more than 300 jobs are now unlikely to materialise, and moves to open a flagship restaurant in George Street, Edinburgh, have already been abandoned.

The Glasgow premises, on Renfield Street, have been sold to the Glasgow-based Baby Grand Group, whose other venues include Ad Lib, Cottiers, Cuba Norte and Firebird.

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When Gaucho Grill opened in Glasgow in October 1999, Zeev Godick, founder of Gioma Restaurants, the operator, said the city was chosen because of its vibrancy. However, the (pounds) 14 steaks never quite caught on and business suffered further amid the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises, and an export ban on Argentine beef.

Alan Tomkins, chairman of the Glasgow Restaurateurs' Association, said: ''The Gaucho Grill never seemed to set the heather on fire. It is good news the site has gone to a well-known Glasgow operator.''