*Review by invite, food and drink complimentary*
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, yet summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
I have never started off a review quoting Shakespeare – I guess there is a first time for everything. I have reviewed Gusto before (see original review here) and fell in love with the place. It’s such a beautiful, easy place to be in.
It was the cocktails that made me think of Shakespeare, they were wondrous and delightful in all their golden glory. Never underestimate the romanticism of golden amber elixir, sunlight streaming through art deco-esque glasses.
We kicked off with the House Old Fashioned (Woodford Reserve, house-made demerara syrup, bitters) and one of ‘Gusto’s Recommendations’ Peach Boulivardier (Woodford Reserve, Aperol, peach liqueur). The House Old Fashioned had a lovely soft citrus note, whilst my peach concoction was honey-sweet, the peach liqueur really coming through after a few seconds on the palate.
As the country was in the iron grip of football fever, the restaurant wasn’t as busy as it usually is. That suited me just fine, as I need to be in the mood for crowds. The new menu builds on the foundation of the previous, yet there is a definite nod to vegetarians. I was intrigued by the cauliflower steak and have earmarked it for a future visit.
The new menu has something for everybody – from pâté and arancini to pizza and pasta, the diverse range will suit even the most pickiest of diners.
My starter of mussels was a very substantial dish. Mussels bathed in a white wine and cream sauce were delicious. I loved the pungent aroma and flavour of garlic (vampires would hate me), and I couldn’t resist swiping warm focaccia bread through the luxurious sauce.
Dining partner had the deli board for one. Prosciutto ham, salami soppressa and coppa was salty, wondrous and with a peppery finish, whilst warm rosemary focaccia, was the neutralising canvas. Gleaming, marinated fat Nocellara olives boasted a good meaty texture. I especially liked the combination of bread, a sliver of sun-dried tomato with a dollop of houmous, which made for a lovely Mediterranean-esque canapé.
How often have you chosen a dish just because of the name? I do that ALL the time. My main of Griffino pizza was delicious, which I chose because I was enamoured by the name. Was the pizza supposed to evoke the mythical griffin creature? Or did it mean branding of some sort (thank you Mr Wikipedia)? Whatever its origins, I was pleased with its taste. Spicy pepperoni salsiccia was the perfect foil to chunks of roast chicken, whilst heat from the slivers of red chilli was tempered with roasted red onion. It’s a great call roasting the onion, which only accentuates the sweetness. A note to mention is that I love hot food, and asked for my Griffino pizza to arrive with extra chillies. (I seriously cannot stop saying the word ‘Griffino’ and may have to name a future pet or character in one of my books that name.)
Dining partner had lemon and pepper tuna. Seared tuna steak was cooked to perfection, the mauve-pink middle still tender soft, whilst the crust was herby and moreish. I loved the addition of cherry tomatoes and soya beans, which somehow made this dish feel healthy and wholesome.
Sides of truffled skin-on fries were divine, as were Italian seasoned skin-on fries. I could easily snaffle a bag of the truffled variety, which leads me to my next point. Immaculate attention to detail is what I have grown to expect and to love about Gusto; their team of chefs lavish the same amount of attention on mains and sides. I would never tell you what to eat, but I would strongly recommend the truffled fries, which are fried pieces of manna that will leave you begging for more.
Rounding off a meal with something sweet is something of a tradition (my sweet tooth wouldn’t forgive me otherwise). Chocolate mousse was light as air and very good with salted caramel swirls that provided a nice balance between burnished caramel and milky chocolate. Chantilly cream was decent. I would have liked to see more crushed honeycomb on the plate, because I love the fleeting whisper of bitterness from the honeycomb to play on the palate with the sweet creaminess from the chocolate.
Wine Pairing Tasting Notes
Griffino pizza: Sangiovese Merlot, Il Sacrato
- There are potent flavours in the pizza, and a strong wine is needed to stand up to and complement the red chillies and spicy pepperoni. This medium weight Sangiovese Merlot, with top notes of red berries worked really well with not only the meat and spices, but gooey mozzarella too. This wine will also go very well with red meat and dishes that have a heavy hit of garlic and fennel.
Seared tuna: Vallée des Reines (Sauvignon Blanc)
- This is a crisp, dry wine. Top notes of lemon with a whisper green apple was perfect with the tuna. It complemented both textures of the fish, especially the squidgy middle. This wine is perfect for all seafood, in particular the mussels and cream dish.
Chocolate mousse: Cabernet Sauvignon (Pride of the Fleurieu)
- A dessert wine should as a general rule, be as sweet as the dessert itself. This intense Australian with plum notes and a surprise deep, dark chocolate hit accentuated the chocolate within the mousse. Owing to the top notes of plum, that could taste wonderfully jammy on the swallow, I recommend this wine to be especially popular both during summer and the festive season.
Dining at Gusto is a joy. Food arrived promptly, the front of house was charming as ever, and it was gorgeous place to be on a sunshine packed day. If Francesca and Josh are front of house, then you’re in for a treat. Francesca’s chirpy banter will leave you smiling, whilst Josh’s wonderful sartorial choice (it is so good to see FOH dress to reflect their effervescent personality) will brighten up your day.
We tucked into an al fresco lunch, and I recommend you sit out front, especially when the sun is out.
It’s a stellar new menu, and I have already earmarked dishes to try in the future (I am still dreaming of those truffled fries). Team Gusto West Bridgford, see you very soon.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9.5
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: Craig Astill
Front of House: Francesca, Joshua
Wheelchair friendly: Yes. There is a ramp at the entrance and a downstair toilet.
Whilst in the area: Visit Holme Pierrepont for a spot of canoeing or kayaking for a fun day out with the family.