When an email dropped into my inbox asking if I’d like to try newly opened restaurant Gusto, an Italian inspired restaurant in the heart of trendy West Bridgford in Nottingham, I was a little excited to discover what all the fuss was about after a million pound refurb and a lot of talk about the place that stood where the former Monkey Tree once was…
We arrived at 6:30pm prompt on a Thursday evening recently, the building was beautifully lit in the evening darkness with it’s glass walled extension at the front which brings the outdoors in without compromising on temperatures and freshly painted exterior with ‘Gusto’ sign above the door. ‘The perfect place for a little his and hers date night‘, I thought to myself as we walked in.
Gusto feels a little bit special as soon as you arrive, walking through into their bar area I began to really appreciate the vision and hard work that had gone into this place. With tree branches hanging from the ceiling adorned with glistening fairy lights, again adding to the bringing the outdoors in vibe, and exposed brick walls teamed with complimentary grey shades, artsy prints dotted here or there and varying textures and materials. It’s all rather aesthetically pleasing and to me, that’s all part of the dining out experience. The details have not been overlooked here and that became even more clear as our evening went on.
We both ate the Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Fried Courgette and Truffle Fries with Grana Padano.
I had: Cold Smoked Salmon with Celeriac Remoulade with a Tomato and Caper Dressing, Pan Roast Duck Breast with Buttered Winter Vegetables, Aged Balsamic and Honey, Basil and Mint Panna Cotta with Plum Compote, Peach and Elderflower Cocktail.* I have Coeliac Disease and eat gluten free.
Jordan had: Gusto Dough Balls with Garlic Butter, Oven Roast Pork Ribs with Tomato Barbeque Sauce and Coleslaw, Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Fried Gnocchi, Pork Crackling, Apple Sauce and Red Wine Jus and Lemon Sorbet.
We were shown to our table and were greeted by a couple of other bloggers who were joining us and we happily chatted away to throughout the night. Even at 6:30pm on a Thursday evening Gusto was beginning to fill up rapidly, and by 7:30pm we were surprised to find that every table was filled and seemed somewhat of a happy little buzzing social hub for those in the surrounding areas just a few weeks after opening.
Our waitress had such a bubbly character and kindly recommended, as well as explaining the origins, of many dishes on the menu which is often just what is needed when visiting somewhere you’ve not been to before, it’s certainly something that I appreciate anyway.
We started off our night by ordering a few drinks and nibbles, and tucked into them eagerly after a long day at work. I sipped on the Peach and Elderflower cocktail, whilst Jordan dove into the Gusto Dough Balls with Garlic Butter.
The Dough Balls were a cross between bread and a croissant with a slight saltiness to it and were complimented well by the garlic butter itself. My Peach and Elderflower Cocktail, which despite not usually being the biggest fan of Elderflower itself, was something that I absolutely adored and was my favourite drink of the night.
We all tucked into the Sun-dried Tomatoes and were so surprised to discover that they were packed full of plenty of flavour and incredibly moreish.
Feeling much more content with something in our tummies after all of our busy days, we moved onto starters.
When my Cold Smoked Salmon starter was placed in front of me I couldn’t wait to take a bite. Well presented with plenty of salmon and celeriac remoulade with it’s tomato and caper dressing, it tasted fresh and flavoursome. As for Jordan’s Oven Roast Pork Ribs which came with tomato BBQ sauce and coleslaw, he commented that they had a nice flavour but were very messy, so perhaps not one to embarrass yourself with on a first date!
When I saw duck on the menu, I hoped and prayed that it was gluten free. Thankfully, I was advised both our waitress and Gustos allergy booklet that it was, and so there was no doubt in my mind what I was having as my main course. Pan Roast Duck Breast with Buttered Winter Vegetables, Aged Balsamic and Honey – sounds delicious doesn’t it? And I’m happy to report that it was.
The duck was served pink, although slightly pinker in some areas than others, and when paired with the accompanying vegetables and sauce created a wonderful taste sensation in my mouth and looked rather pretty sitting on it’s plate in front of me. It’s definitely one I’d have again and it was lovely to see duck served slightly differently than other places I’ve tried in the past.
Jordan’s main of Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Fried Gnocchi, Pork Crackling, Apple Sauce and Red Wine Jus also got a big thumbs up. Again, it’s another dish that was well presented and looked appetising but what made this dish was how all the key components came together meaning that Jordan gave the whole dish an approving nod. The belly pork was well cooked, being tender in the middle and crispy on top with the crumbled crackling which was a nice addition, the jus was tasty and as it was Jordan’s first time trying gnocci, he discovered that he loved that too.
We also had some Italian Fried Courgette and Truffled Fries with Grana Padano on the table and whilst the fried courgette weren’t as crisp or flavoursome as I’d like, the chips certainly made up for that.
Despite our tummies bursting at this point, we decided that we’d come this far through the menu and so perhaps we ought to try some puddings too…
I went for the Basil and Mint Panna Cotta with Plum Compote and Jordan gave the Lemon Sorbet a try. I thought the basil, mint and plum combination was such a unique idea, but one that surprisingly worked perfectly. The basil flavour came through a little more than the mint but paired with the plum compote was lovely, and as for the Lemon Sorbet, this was wonderfully fresh and zingy. Both were delicious and a light way to finish off our evening.
We said our goodbyes and thanked the friendly staff before jumping back into our car and heading home after a great evening.
With it’s tasteful decor, large appealing menu and beautifully presented dishes, Gusto has landed itself firmly in my top 5 Nottingham restaurants and is well worth a trip outside of the city centre to try.
You can find Gusto at 70 Bridgford Road, West Bridgford, NG2 6AP. Their website can be found here.
* Post written in collaboration with Gusto. All opinions are 100% my own.