When a recent team trip called for comprehensive a la carte, this Italian stalwart didn’t disappoint
GUSTO Leeds describes itself as ‘a real flavour of Italy combined with proper Yorkshire class.’ We’d say that was about right: with its art deco flair and marble accents, this Greek Street Italian looks impressive yet remains refreshingly unpretentious: one example being packing our pizza to take away when we couldn’t quite finish it off. Add to that a varied a la carte menu, available all day (lunch and early dining options also available) and it made the perfect destination for a Confidential team outing.
Despite the business of the restaurant, we felt no pressure to rush from the attentive staff and our round table meant the five of us could converse with ease.
During this our leisurely meeting, there wasn’t one dish we didn’t consume with relish, hence why we decided - kind souls that we are - to pass on some of our recommended dishes. Rumbling stomachs may ensue…
Garlic pizza bread - rosemary and sea salt
We opted for the subtle fragrance of rosemary and sea salt, although no doubt we’d have enjoyed tomato and basil or mozzarella garlic pizza breads too. Rosemary can also be found in Gusto’s baked foccacia bread with olive oil and aged balsamic, which comes equally recommended.
There are few things more reminiscent of the Med than olives, and a pot of these little delights is also one of the healthiest nibbles around. With a combination of plump firm green olives and their softer black counterparts, this starter is a simple pleasure.
Another fruit reminiscent of sun-soaked vineyards, these again make the perfect light sharer while everyone peruses the menu.
Hand rolled meatballs
Glazed with Italian cheese and served with chargrilled artisan bread…enough said.
Tomato and mozzarella salad
Want to save a bit of room before the main event? This leafy salad, sprinkled with fresh tomato chunks and creamy mozzarella, is just the ticket.
Deep fried, with a side of zesty lemon mayonnaise, this crisp appetiser is buonissimo indeed.
Not only are they prepared in-house using homemade dough, Gusto pizzas are award-winning: one bite and you’ll see why. We tried Caprino - goat’s cheese, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, caramelised onions, pesto, mozzarella and rocket - an ideal choice for vegetarians.
Gusto’s oven-baked, homemade lasagne does ample justice to this famous dish - what secret ingredients hide in the blend of ragu, béchamel and pasta sheets we can’t say but it certainly works a treat.
Tagliatelle with prawns and garlic
Another classic; juicy prawns are given a boost with sweet chilli tomato sauce, seasoned with fresh lime and rocket. Like its long spaghetti sibling, tagliatelle probably isn’t ideal for a date - otherwise, practise your fork twisting and get stuck in.
Roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad
One salad most definitely shaking off the ‘boring’ rep, this is a melee of texture and flavour; topped off with a drizzle of crunchy pumpkin seeds and refreshing pomegranate.
This warming, indulgent dish is one of our favourites - full of earthy flavour and, rather than being overpowered with truffle oil (as with certain risottos elsewhere), subtly enhanced by it.