Gusto in George Street was the choice for my friends’ birthday celebrations one evening last week and the four of us braved the wind and rain into a warm and welcoming restaurant. It was near capacity with a lovely buzz in the air as everyone enjoyed good food and wine.
We were offered a drink at the bar whilst we waited on the other half of our party, but we elected to sit at our circular booth table and peruse the menu. Our waitress for the evening introduced herself and took our drinks order as well as providing us with a jug of iced water. The second half of our party arrived and our starters were ordered, consisting of Italian breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, £3.25, a beef carpaccio with balsamic and sundried tomato dressing, £7.95 and a pizza garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt, £3.50. Our drinks consisted of Hoegaarden beer, vodka and soda and pinot grigio wine, which were replenished frequently by our attentive waitress.
Our starters were delicious, with the garlic pizza being substantial and enough for two people to share. The beef carpaccio was divine and the bread fresh, working well with the balsamic and olive oil.
There was a genuine relaxed mood in the restaurant which we lapped up with good conversation whilst waiting on our mains to arrive. We had ordered a lasagne, £8.95 and rest of us went for steaks. One flat rump steak with garlic, chilli, rocket and sea salt at £12.95 and two rib eye steals at £14.95 each. Our waitress explained that the steaks came on their own, so we ordered fries, french beans and spinach to accompany our meat.
The lasagne was chock full of Italian meaty goodness and was a generous portion, perfect fodder for such a wild weather night. The steaks were cooked to our liking and the waitress even offered my dining partner extra chilli flakes as he said he had liked his steaks hot. This is just another example of the alert and courteous service our waitress provided all evening.
My rib eye steak was beautifully tender to cut through, taste and savour. The vegetables and fries produced a lovely course. I do however feel that the vegetable portions were rather on the small side for the price of £2.95 and £3.50 for the beans and spinach respectively. They really are only big enough for one person.
Our waitress enquired as to whether we wished dessert to finish off our meal and a resounding ‘yes’ ensued. Between us, we ordered a cheese board, £6.95, a sticky toffee pudding, £5.75, a banoffee pie, £5.45 and an affogato at £4.95.
The affogato consisted of a shot of amaretto, a ristretto and two scoops of ice cream which proved to be a delicious combination for one of my dining partners.
The cheese plate was huge and big enough for all of us to tuck into after finishing our own desserts. A good selection of cheeses, bread, crackers and honey. I devoured my banoffee pie which was a force to be reckoned with and a perfect end to the meal. Unfortunately it was over all too soon, but this allowed me to taste the sticky toffee pudding which was also heavenly.
We finished our drinks as the manager introduced himself and checked that everything had been to our liking, which indeed it had. The waitress produced our bill and for four people all having three courses plus drink, came to £124 (plus tip)
Gusto gets four stars for being a good Italian restaurant with great decor and a comprehensive bar stocked with quality drinks and an extensive cocktail list.
Suitable for disabled ? Yes, there is seating on the ground floor (book in advance to avoid being seated upstairs and full accessible bathrooms.