Gusto are a chain of 14 “classic and contemporary Italian” restaurants, with a 15th due to open soon in Birmingham.
This review follows a visit to the restaurant in Bothwell Street, Glasgow. Fourteen (!) of us attended to celebrate an 18th birthday. The restaurant is a two minute walk from Central Station with lots of parking also close by. This restaurant won the best newcomer award at the Scottish Italian awards in 2015.
First thoughts upon entering are that the place looks incredible. Dark woods, light walls, huge windows and a plethora of brilliant lights. The bar is beautifully ornate. You already feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, and you haven’t even been seated yet.
The girls ordered pizza. They got to choose and arrange the toppings themselves, and also got their own (branded) chef’s hats. The waiting staff also brought crayons for their activity sheets, which were on the back of the kid’s menu. The pizzas were £6.50 each, but that included a dessert of either ice cream or ice lollies.
For the grown ups, there is an a pre-theatre menu between 5 – 7pm for £19.95. This includes a bruschetta starter (with a choice of toppings), a main and a spritz cocktail. Considering that the main that was brought with the pre-theatre was slightly smaller than a la carte, it didn’t seem to be that good a deal.
We ordered a la carte and got the Garganelli Primavera with summer vegetables, pine nuts and Grana Padano (£10.25) and Slow Cooked Pork Belly with fried gnocchi, pork crackling, apple sauce and red wine jus (£14.50). We also ordered a side of Polenta Chips (£3.50).
Emma enjoyed the pasta but felt that it could have done with more seasoning, more flavour. The pork plate was mostly delicious but the pork belly was overdone. (I am used to getting pork cooked to perfection in a Sunday dinner from my mother-in-law, so I’m spoiled. My expectations are therefore high!)
As the occasion was a family birthday, we’d asked for the cake to be kept in the kitchen. What was odd was that they brought the cake out without giving us any warning. Some people were still waiting on food orders. They also didn’t bring a knife or plates for the cake. A couple of times throughout the meal, we tried to get staff’s attention but failed. At one point, we were talking to a waiter while he was at the table but he must have been day dreaming because he just walked away.
We’ll forgive the service hiccups and the food imperfections. There was enough in the food and the menu to make us want to return. We’d certainly be happy to dine in the utter splendour of the restaurant again.