As many of the big chains should be, Gusto is switching things up a bit.
It started to become very clear at the start of 2018 that the demand for more plant-based meals wasn’t going to slow down. I took part in Veganuary for the first time ever and my appetite for vegan food manifested itself as a vow to eat less meat, more plants, and really start giving a crap where the food I eat comes from.
Fast forward to Summer 2018 and we now have dedicated vegan sections in supermarkets and big ‘clean ups’ in the meat and dairy industry like M&S’ beef traceability campaign.
So it was only a matter of time before well-known (and loved) brands like Gusto started to make changes too!
The New Menu at Gusto
Overall, the new menu is more varied and caters more easily to veggies and vegans. And it does so without compromising the impressive fish, meat and egg based dishes on offer too.
A new and unique addition is their ‘dough petals’ which at first I wasn’t sure on. But when they arrived, complete with their vegan-friendly Romesco ‘mayonnaise’ I was suitably impressed at how delicious they were.
A fantastic alternative to garlic bread, this is something I’ve not seen before but would definitely order again.
Other new items include their aranchini. We tried the veggie version with saffron and a rich tomato sauce and they were stunning.
Originally a kind of street food in Italy, this addition to the menu works well as a starter to share with some antipasti. Or, if you opt for a sharing board to start then they make an appearance on there, too. The sharing platter also features polenta-fried olives which are very moreish indeed! And their light, crispy lemon and pepper calamari with lemon mayonnaise. Also divine.
Inspired by a trip to Milan
On the evening I was joined by two other lovely bloggers and two of Gusto’s Business Development Managers. It was a really relaxed vibe and a great opportunity to discuss the new menu, its new additions and the reasoning behind the changes.
The executive chef team had been taken on a trip to Milan to gather new ideas and inspiration for the new menu. Clearly a good idea (when is a foodie trip ever not?!) this is something I think they should continue to keep things fresh and exciting. It must be tricky for bigger chains to adapt quickly to new trends or demands but this seems a good way to keep things current.
Some other noteworthy dishes were; the spaghetti verdi – a vibrantly green creation combining peas, soya beans, French beans and pea shoots. For me the pasta was a little overcooked. It was more on the soft side than al dente. Although I’m glad I tried the dish I found it too sickly to order again. I think a spaghetti verdi with spinach, garlic and chilli would have been more up my street!
Fellow blogger and life-long veggie Jacinta ordered a pizza for her main. She went for the Gusto Recommends truffled fungi pizza, served with a white cream sauce, wild mushrooms, rocket, and truffle oil, which she enjoyed.
Seafood lover and fashion blogger, Lili, ordered the tuna steak and I must say this looked like the best dish at the table.
It seemed to be cooked to perfection. Unlike Jacinta and I, Lili finished every last bite claiming it was the best tuna steak she’d ever eaten – and this girl has eaten some seafood!
Next time I’m in Gusto’s I will be ordering this tuna steak for my main, without a moment of hesitation.
The house-made polenta fries are absolutely gorgeous, too. Have you tried them?
Our means were accompanied by a refreshing and carefully crafted selection of gins and cocktails, too. I opted for the floral gin with a rose lemonade which was delicious and very Instagrammable!
Room for dessert?
Lily and Jacinta were excited for dessert, but I was content, as ever, with ice cream.
The ice cream sprinkling is now a light crumbling of ginger biscuit which compliments the creamy, decadent gelato perfectly.
Lili approved of the new look brownie with salted caramel ice cream. And the little bombolini (little sweet dough pillows with Biscoff sauce) were tasty but far too heavy for me following bread and pasta!
There are some great dishes on this menu. There’s now a vegan pizza (great light, healthy option) and Milanese saffron risotto sounds great too.
I admire what Gusto are doing by switching up their menu. That said, it would be amazing to see more of the house chef’s own talent’s and creativity. Perhaps on a small in house menu that’s exclusive to each site?
But, that is probably too a big an ask for a brand with 18 sites across the UK. But if they could pull something like that off, it would inject even more individuality into each location!
Overall, they’ve put in some great work on diversifying the new menu at Gusto. Their foodie trips have added a fresh new edge offering something to suit all preferences, demands and palates 🥑🍝✨
We recently ate at Gusto in Didsbury and had a really lovely meal, including the Arancini. They were gorgeous.
yes I enjoyed the aranchini more than expected! the crispy salt and pepper squid with lemon mayonnaise was fab too x
Love Gusto so much, and these dishes look fabulous – can’t wait to get back and try, especially the tuna – I am sold! xx
Hey Ellie! Yes that tuna steak just looked absolutely divine! We should have dinner together once I’m moved and settled my dear x
This is a mouth-watering post, the shots are beautiful, really good work Sophie x
Hey Alex, thanks so much! It can be a bit tricky juggling the camera whilst at dinner but I’m please with how they turned out!
I love Milan so the menu being inspired from there is definitely going to be a winner
I think its so amazing you did Veganuary too!
Thank you for sharing ☺️
Hi Aimee! Oh wow, I’ve never been to Milan. I love to go to Italy, start in the north and work my way to the south. And yes, veganuary has completely changed the way I eat and shop. Will be doing it again next year! Thanks for your comment 🙂
Dang, you’ve made me want arancini for breakfast now!
Hehe I don’t think they serve it until lunch but they should sooo add it to their new brunch menu! Who needs avocado toast! 😉
Love this, Sophie – what gorgeous photos! Those Arancini balls made my night, absolutely stunning xxx
It was a brilliant evening! Those balls were delightful! see you soon, petal!