I was invited down to try out Gusto in West Bridgford and see what it was all about. In all honesty, I didn’t know much about the brand and I’ve never been to one elsewhere in the country, but a lot of people I spoke to were pretty excited that one had opened up. I remember venturing there a while back for a quick drink but didn’t have a chance to try out their food.
I grabbed a fellow blogger and friend Will Flirt for Food and headed down to try them out for size.
First Impressions of Gusto
For those who can’t place it, Gusto is where The Monkey Tree was in West Bridgford – a few doors down from Co Op. The monkey tree is still outside which gives you a good indication that you’re in the right place.
As you walk in there’s seating and a bar area in front of you, there’s a desk to check in to your right and the restaurant is behind this. The conservatory area is fully open to make the restaurant bigger and more spacious, there are heaters above conservatory tables to ensure its toasty.
We were sat just on the edge of this conservatory, next to a huge tree that filled the wall next to me and went across the ceiling. The tree was covered in fairy lights and guided you deeper into the restaurant. Fairy lights were also present in the conservatory area and all over the monkey tree out front. It was a cosy venue, well decorated and promising.
The menus were on the table as we sat down, it was one sheet of paper with food on one side and drinks on the other. The waiter came over to explain that all pasta mains can be made into smaller dishes for starters if you wish, along with some quick allergy advice and recommendations.
In all honesty none of the starters really shouted out at me, despite there being quite a lot of options: 4 veggie, 4 meat and 4 fish. Instead we decided to opt for a focaccia with balsamic and olive oil from the nibbles menu. This was a great shout, it was thick and already sliced so it was easy to tear and share. The dip was perfectly matched and not too heavy on either balsamic or oil, this meant you got a great taste from both on each dip.
For main I opted for the seared lemon and pepper tuna steak with cherry tomatoes, soya beans and nocellara olives. This didn’t come with anything other than the salad so I threw on some rosemary and garlic potatoes to make it more of a meal. This was literally amazing! I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a dish that has gone over and above my expectations. Tuna is a tricky dish to get right as it can be too dry or a little tasteless, this was neither. The flavours in this were fantastic and the potatoes on the side were cooked and seasoned beautifully. This is actually one of those dishes that was so good I don’t know if I would want to order something else the next time I go (and I never do that).
Will Flirt for Food opted for the white crab, chilli and garlic spaghetti (after checking it wouldn’t be mind-blowingly hot!) which came with a side of fresh lemon. I didn’t try this dish but it looked delicious and every single bit of it was demolished. The spice level was mild so there was a bit of additional chilli oil that was thrown on top for an added kick! I’d suggest you ask for a heat increase if you’re a lover of spice on this.
Afterwards we weren’t going to opt for dessert but were tempted by sharing a tiramisu. I’m so glad we chose the sharing option as it was huge. Unfortunately Flirts doesn’t eat cheese and could taste mascarpone in the dish so had to stop after a mouthful. We did check with the waitress after this bite and she instantly knew the ingredients – dessert for one it was! I’m not one to let the team down so I had every single bit of it and enjoyed it too.
I’m going to give a shout out to our waiter, Raj, as he was brilliant. He was funny, knowledgeable and willing to go a little bit extra – in fact, all of the staff seemed to be the same. The training or hiring process seems to be working here. It got busy after about 30 minutes of us being there but that didn’t stop or deter the service levels which is not an easy thing to achieve so well done to Gusto on that.
gusto (west bridgford) rating: 8.5/10
£28.95 pp/£57.85 in total for 2 x soft drinks, 1 x bread, 2 x main, 1 x side and 1 x dessert
I never thought I’d be giving a chain restaurant such high marks, but these guys really deserve it. There wasn’t one bit of my dish I didn’t like and I’m already talking about going back for date night. The quality of food, the service and the whole venue have smashed it – this is what dining out is all about.
So, it is a little pricey but I would happily pay it again as I know exactly what I’m getting. My next visit will be on a weekend so I’ll compare notes but if this is their standard then they’re going to take over the world.
Recommended for: groups, dates, italian lovers, veggies
Not recommended for: families (please don’t ruin it), fussy eaters
Why not try: the tuna!
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Love for you all x