Bored of lacklustre roasts? With its sense of occasion and delectable set menu, Gusto has the antidote
WHEN it comes to Sunday lunch out, we invariably want a sense of occasion but without the exorbitant price tag - not so easy a find.
Enter Gusto. At three superb courses for £18.95, or two for £15.95 - all served up in its stunning dining room, in the Grade II listed Elliot House - this Italian restaurant is a Sunday saviour.
At three superb courses for £18.95, or two for £15.95, Gusto is a Sunday saviour
Confidential recently took advantage and, despite the inclement weather outside, were immediately transported us to sunnier climes. As light streamed in through the large windows, and a friendly waiter ushered us to one of the linen-clad tables, we could quite easily have been off a sunlit Roman plaza rather than the Deansgate thoroughfare.
Now you can have two courses, but why have two when you can have three? Before long we were tucking into our starters: homemade chicken liver pate with toasted artisan bread came served with red onion and cranberry chutney for balance, while creamed garlic mushrooms were infused with truffle oil. Our last starter was creamed cauliflower soup with a sprinkle of sea salt, accompanied by rosemary foccacia.
So far, so good - very good.
Mains had a lot to live up to, but managed to uphold standards - and, if you like your food photogenic (who doesn’t these days?), they look as good as they taste. Pork saltimbocca comprised two generous cuts of pork, undercut with sage and wrapped in Tuscan ham, over a bed of buttery mash and veg drizzled in marsala jus. Oven-baked cod also took advantage of prosciutto, its rich meaty flavour complementing the subtler fish perfectly. Both were boosted by the slight crunch of spiced pepperoni lentils.
Arguably the prettiest dish was roast chicken breast; artfully arranged on creamed leeks and surrounded by capers, slithers of tomato and a ring of gnocchi. Pan-fried, with the requisite crispy skin, it was a triumph on all accounts. Other mains include lamb cacciatore and mushroom risotto - no doubt both as satisfying and a nifty excuse to make a rapido return.
Finally, what’s a Day of Rest without tucking into a spot of pudding? The Gusto tiramisu is a homemade slice of heaven whose recipe, unsurprisingly, is a closely-guarded secret. Warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie was a close rival in the dessert stakes, topped off with pistachio ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. After something more refreshing and a little less decadent? Gusto sorbet is made with lime and fresh lemon zest. Confidential have our eye on sticky toffee pudding for next time.
If a Sunday well spent indeed brings a week of content, enjoy lunch at Gusto and you’ll look forward to a fulfilling week ahead.
Gusto Restaurant & Bar, 4 Lloyd Street (off Deansgate) Manchester M2 5AB