Gusto is a gorgeous Italian restaurant at the west end of George street, peaking behind a twinkling curtain of fairy lights the restaurant draws customers into it’s warm, intimate space boasting dark glossy wooden floors and high ceilings with old black and white photographs tastefully lining the walls as you enter.
Mama T and I were meeting for a catch up and i had come across Gusto’s Itison voucher for two courses for two people with a glass of prosecco each. What’s not to love?! We were able to book straight away and were greeted with friendly, welcoming staff that sat us in one of the small alcoves. Our secluded spot was quiet enough to enjoy our conversation and there was a gentle but excited buzz amongst tables as drinks were clinked in heartfelt toasts; cutlery carefully passed between parties wobbling wonderfully with mouthfuls from courses across the menu.
We asked for our prosecco to accompany the thirsty work of making a choice between all the delicious sounding dishes; cold, crisp and the right level of sharpness, this made a wonderfully refreshing start to our evening.
I moved away from my normal go-to picks and chose the creamed garlic mushrooms topped with crispy shallots, served with char-grilled artisan bread. When I read creamed garlic mushrooms I pictured a thick, rich garlicky mushroom concoction that would be mopped up by the bread. The mushrooms were button-like and came whole; happily drowning in a heavy, garlic laden sauce, which in my book is definitely not a bad thing but i did have to add salt as i found apart from the strong presence of garlic the sauce lacked depth in flavour. The bread was slightly too char-grilled for my liking and needed a slight scraping to remove the thin black crust but the crispy shallots were gorgeous, golden brown morsels that brought a great texture to the dish.
Mama T chose wisely, going for the Tagliatelle with smoked salmon and dill, tossed with cream, peas and spinach finished with fresh lemon. Lets just say I was green eyed with envy; it was divine and exploded with flavour. The dill and lemon harmoniously worked together to perfectly cut through the cream while still managing to compliment the delicate flavour of the salmon and sweetness of the peas. Several bites were stolen off her plate and she was lucky it was only a few small ones!
Service was speedy and the staff attentive; wine glasses never empty and plates whisked away as soon as cutlery was placed down in defeat, our mains were presented to us before we knew it.
I went for the roast chicken breast with creamed leeks, tomato and caper dressing and fried gnocchi and boy did they deliver. The chicken was tender and moist, topped with golden crispy skin, it rested on a melt in your mouth bed of soft, buttery leeks. The gnocchi were soft, delightfully dense and perfectly browned; soaking up the rich oils from the ripe tomatoes and salty capers.
My experienced dining companion tucked into the oven baked fillet of cod wrapped in prosciutto served with tender-stem broccoli and fresh sliced chilli. The prosciutto created a deliciously salty envelope around the delicate, flaky chunks of cod and the broccoli gave a nice snap and crunch with hints of fiery chilli in each mouthful.
Throughout our meal we sipped on a wonderfully cold and delicious bottle of cortese, san silvestro, and out of sheer curiosity and greed, we ordered truffled fries with grana padano and Italian fried courgettes. Crunchy and perfectly seasoned on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside the fries were highly addictive.
The batter covering the fried courgettes had a slight crunch but were not well seasoned and cooled and softened quickly. A good dish for sharing amongst a larger party were they would be gobbled up in no time.
I have now been here for birthdays, Christmas work parties and casual weekday dinners; Gusto caters for every occasion with ease, confident in their food, each experience has been fun and unforgettable. It is easy for time to pass in this cosy, lively bubble of lights, laughter and excellent food. Once you have dined at Gusto you’ll be instantly converted and forever a loyal fan, the minds behind the food know what they are doing and all you have to do is revel in their yummy creations.