A local restaurant review on the blog today, of Gusto in Knutsford, has anybody been? Knutsford is a lovely town, and it’s food and drink scene is pretty on point. Princess Street or ‘top street’ mainly consists of shops, a good butchers, some cafes and the newly opened Lost and Found restaurant in the old town hall, which I have yet to visit. But, as you walk down ‘bottom street’, or it’s official name, King Street, you start to realise how many dining out options they have in such a small space.
The bottom line is, restaurants in the area need to be good to survive, and as well as good food, with quality ingredients, service, atmosphere and drinks on offer need to be a consistently high standard too in order to compete, and more importantly, to succeed.
Gusto is a well known brand. My younger sister, Hannah, works for Living Ventures, the company who owns Gusto. She’s restaurant manager at the Alderley Edge branch. So with some inside knowledge, I can confidently say they really do put so much into their food, service, staff, training and overall brand to make damn sure it’s not all just style over substance.
So Hannah, my mother and I went along on a cold Monday evening to ease ourselves into the week in style. Here’s how we got on…
Starters: sharing is caring…
I do think that Gusto offers great value for money. But, there are two starters on the menu which are very, VERY generous in portion size. I’m talking about the mussels, and the hummus with pitta bread. This hummus absolutely reignited my love affair with hummus (tad dramatic, but it’s true) and the mussels were to die for.
As you can see, the hummus comes served with what is described on the menu as ‘pitta’, but don’t let this fool you. And unless you’re the hungriest person on the planet, don’t order this for one. It’s actually a full-sized calzone pizza base, that is baked hollow. When it arrives it’s puffed up, warm and ready to go. The hummus is drizzled with fine olive oil and stunning pesto, and some crudites to keep your veg count in-check for the day. Delicious.
The mussels are plump, juicy and so very clean (I can’t stand a gritty mussel and WILL send them back without a second thought) and the white wine sauce is light, creamy and very moreish. I think you know where I’m going with this, but, once you have mopped up all the hummus, there’s plenty of bread leftover to mop-up the sauce from the mussels too. The two starters together are enough for three-four people to share, easily! Very impressed indeed.
When only a steaming hot bowl of pasta will do
This, my friends, was one of those occasions. OK, I admit, it had been a heavy Saturday night, and by Monday I was still feeling a little weary. So, comfort food was high on the agenda and my craving for pasta took over. Hannah and Mum agreed, so I went for: a ‘new’ dish that made a bit of a comeback on their Autumn/Winter menu: the spaghetti meatballs. I was keen to try their take on this classic dish, and, although the sauce was a little rich for me, overall it was lovely. The meatballs we packed full of flavours from fresh herbs and a peppery kick too. The pasta was cooked al dente, to perfection.
Hannah splashed out and had the king prawn and lobster pasta, which she then proceeded to allow the waiter to pile high with her favourite, fresh Parmesan, before I could take a picture. But, it was gorgeous. Loads of prawns, huge, juicy bits of lobster and a light tomato sauce too.
Mum was also on the pasta hype and proceeded to order the classic, white crab, chilli and garlic spaghetti. Another stunning bowl of comforting goodness.
Enough room for dessert? Oh, go on then…
You’d think after double-carbing our way through the first and second course, we’d be done-in by this point and ready for a lie down. Well, you’re right, but as I recently had an amazing experience eating a traditional tiramisu made by an Italian chef… I had to give Gusto’s tiramisu a try.
And I must say, I was disappointed. It was very cake-like with lots of layers of sponge, which I feel took away from the creamy, light nature of this amazing Italian pud. Rather than pick me up it left me feeling almost the opposite, but, like I said, I was tired, so won’t blame my sluggishness the dessert course entirely!
Overall the food at Gusto is gorgeous and presents great value for money when you add in the share-ability of some dishes, as well as the quality of ingredients, excellent service and stunning atmosphere too.