*Review by invite, food and drink complimentary*
When was the last time you leapt for joy? It could be a physical, or metaphorical uptick in emotion. The last time my heart did a little skippity-do-dah was when I discovered that Gusto was opening a new restaurant in Nottingham.
Having dined at all eight of their eateries in their stellar stable, I can hand on heart, say that I adore the Living Ventures brand. Nottingham being one of my favourite spaces from the get-go, the addition of Gusto is just more icing on an already delicious cake.
It was on an unseasonably chilly evening that we found ourselves in West Bridgford. It is one of the best spaces in Nottingham and where I feel at home the most.
Having lived in Nottingham around a decade ago, I have seen the area invariably change over the years. Now, it is cosmopolitan and as we strolled down the avenue, I couldn’t help remarking to my dining partner, how I could easily live in Nottingham again. It is spaces like West Bridgford and investment from big players like Living Ventures that is taking the great city of Nottingham to new heights.
The exterior of Gusto West Bridgford is as pretty as a picture. It has that “untouched” vibe, found in places that are still riding the clean train and have yet to stop at Worn-out-ville. Like Jennifer Lopez in THAT Versace navel baring dress, Gusto is very green and very beautiful. I especially like the floor to ceiling windows towards the front of the restaurant. This makes it one of the best areas within the restaurant to take stock and people-watch, which also happens to be one of my favourite pastimes.
After getting settled next to the window (did I mention those lovely expansive windows?), we took a looksee at the various menus including the à la carte and drinks’ listings.
As I was in a classic mood, it had to be my go-to drink of bellini. It was very good, and as I have a slightly sweeter palate (yes I take three sugars in my coffee, bite me), I asked for the cocktail to be made a little sweeter. Dining partner ordered off the menu by having a Long Island Iced Tea. It’s great to see Gusto being attentive, seeing to their customers’ needs and creating deliciously sippable drinks in the process.
We kicked off with some nibbles in the form of marinated Nocellara olives and baked rosemary foccacia.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I get a little confused with nibbles. Aren’t they technically a sort-of starter? Every eatery I have visited which has a ‘nibbles’ section tend to serve pretty generous portions anyway. I get full up easily and want to save room for my main course and dessert (must never skip dessert). This is perhaps why I don’t quite appreciate the presence of nibbles on a menu, although the nibbles in this instance were great. Fat, meaty olives and wondrously chargrilled bread was very good, especially when swiped through extra virgin olive oil spiked with balsamic vinegar.
My starter of tiger prawns (garlic, tomato, cream sauce) was stunning. Steaming hot with wisps of steam skimming the surface, this was a terrific start to the meal. Tender prawns enrobed in tomato base, the tang tempered by the lilting cream, was beautiful. The accompanying chargrilled artisan bread was the perfect partner, which I used as an edible scooping instrument to fork delicious morsels into my mouth. I am still thinking of this dish 48 hours after eating it, which is in itself a sign of its delicious nature. Next time (there will be a next time – trust me), I will ask if I can have this dish as a main.
Dining partner’s starter of crispy calamari was highly moreish. A light dusting of flour on slivers of calamari was very good. I thought this dish to be inventive, due to the fact that it is the first time I have eaten shredded squid like this; the usual calamari consists of rings of meatier chunks of squid in a dense batter. The accompanying mayonnaise was laced with a wonderful whisper of lemon, which complemented the squid perfectly.
My main of roast chicken breast (creamed leeks, fried gnocchi) was one of the best dishes I have eaten in a while. Sliced chicken breast (butterflied the full way way through) was succulent soft in all its roasted glory, providing a great juxtaposition to the crispy gnocchi that had been scored on the surface to increase the crisp factor. Tart tomato and caper dressing cut through the luxuriously creamy leeks very well and I saved a few gnocchi pieces at the end of the meal as I was really enjoying their slight chew.
Dining partner indulged in 9oz Argentinian Ribeye of beef (sautéed wild mushrooms). He described the texture of the steak to be silky soft and likened slicing it, akin to cutting through room temperature butter.
Wild garlic and herb infused butter on the cusp of melting, was the fabulous crown. When it did melt, it enrobed the meat in a luxurious bath. I thought the addition of truffle oil on the mushrooms was a nice touch, intensifying the earthy flavour profile of this dish.
I love truffles and thought the truffled fries with grana padano were very special.
These oxymornoic fries were blooming delicious. Crisp yet soft, crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth, these are without a doubt one of the best bowl of fries I have ever tasted.
You have a choice of getting these fries regular or truffled; I highly recommend them truffled. These chips were beautiful when swiped through mayonnaise or peppercorn sauce – I always order a vial of the latter, it’s a quirk of mine. I found this heightened the flavour stakes of this side (ahem, sorry couldn’t resist).
Dessert of warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie (Biscoff sauce) was beautifully presented. I loved the heavy hit of hazelnut in the dense, fudgy sponge, whilst the scoop of pistachio ice-cream accentuated the nuttiness.
Dining at Gusto West Bridgford is a joy. It’s not just the food that is great, the ambience is pretty darn perfect too. Look out for the fashion-conscious and wonderfully effervescent shirts of Josh, that will put a smile on your face (he’s the rock star who welcomed us at the entrance).
From set lunch menus (2 courses for £12.95) to Sunday lunches (£16.95 for 2 courses), there is something for everyone at Gusto West Bridgford.
For an excellent evening out, head on over to Gusto West Bridgford. If you’re more of a daytime bod, check out their brunch menu and tuck into delights such as cinnamon French toast or a full English breakfast.
Rating: (1: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9
Wine Pairing Tasting Notes
Argentinian steak: Pride of the Fleurieu (Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Top notes of forest fruit and blackberries complemented the steak wonderfully. Rich, full-bodied and altogether delicious. This wine will also go very well with lamb.
Roast chicken: Vallée des Reines (Sauvignon Blanc)
- Clean, refreshing on the palate, with hints of fragrant green apple on the swallow. This wine will also go very well with a nice piece of sea-bass,
Hazelnut brownie: Mas De Lavail, Maury Expression
- Sweetness tempered by dry tart blueberry notes, with chocolate hovering in the background made this a good accompanying wine for this dessert.
Restaurant name: Gusto, West Bridgford
Open since: February 2017
Address: 70 Bridgford Rd, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6AP
Opening times: Sunday – Thursday 12noon – 10pm | Friday & Saturday 12noon – 11pm
Brunch served Saturday & Sunday 9am – 11:30am
How to make reservation: You can reserve over the phone on 01159 824 904 or online here.
Call: 01159 824 904
GM: Daniel Masters
Head Chef: Daniel Sarti
Front of House: Rosina Gavissio, Kayleigh Phillipson, Joshua Wheelhouse
Wheelchair friendly: Yes. There is a ramp at the entrance and a downstair toilet.
Whilst in the area: visit West Bridgford Library directly opposite Gusto. They have some excellent events including author interviews and Book Club Specials.