|Gusto West Bridgford|
It's been years since I've ventured out into West Bridgford. I've always known it to have a vibrant and slightly more mature scene to Nottingham city centre whilst keeping more of a town-like feel. Gusto seem to have made a wise choice situating themselves in one of the most affluent areas of Nottingham where there's plenty to spend your money on- including great food.
The latest addition to West Bridgford's restaurant's is Gusto. Featuring a broad menu of Italian classics with a wide selection of pizza's pastas and meat dishes it seemed we were in for a treat or two despite anything that wasn't bolted down throughout West Bridgford being sent flying by the after-effects of storm Doris
|The Exterior of Gusto West Bridgford with the preserved Monkey Tree|
The old Monkey Tree has been replaced with a very sleek, yet relaxing interior, tastefully adourned with a myriad of fairy-lights to add great mood lighting. It's the kind of environment you could as easily feel at home taking your mum (or Mamma as we are dining Italian), meeting the girls or even out on a date.
Threre's even a new glasshouse to the front that extends the capacity of the building which is still owed by the Sorrentino's who ran the Da Vinci restaurant within the property in the late 90's before retiring and leasing the property. The iconic Monkey Puzzle Tree to the front remains and is as much a part of West Bridgford culture as Robin Hood is to the area.
All in the transformation has cost around £1 million and represents a big investment into the area to add to 15 Gusto restaurants across the country. Nottingham- West Bridgford is their first restaurant in the East Midlands showing our prominence in the marketplace for eating and drinking. It seems it's a great time to be a foodie in the city.
I was invited along to sample the menu along with a number of other bloggers so have to admit my experience at Gusto was a little different to the norm for me. I spent the evening getting to know some wonderful people whilst eating a good meal, what's not to enjoy about that. And as four of us were dining it would be a great opportunity to get some shots of various different dishes across the menu.
Having driven across straight from the day job and this being the wrong side of town for me it was an evening of being sensible. The cocktail menu looked lovely and there was a fantastic wine selection which sadly didn't feature any of our Sardinian classics. Had there been a nicely chilled Vermentino on the menu I might have been forced to leave the car overnight and get a taxi home. There were however a few non standard Italian wines on the menu to choose including a classy sounding white Verdicchio and a full bodied Amarone if you really wanted to push the boat out.
|Sundried Tomatoes as Nibbles|
Whilst waiting for one of our party we sat down and tucked into some Sun-Dried Tomatoes (£2.95) and Garlic Dough Petals from the nibbles section of the menu. The Sundried Tomatoes were bursting full of flavour and came as about 10 pieces so plenty to share around a small table.
|Dough Petals with Garlic Butter|
The real highlight of the nibbles was the Dough Petals with Garlic Butter. The dough was almost like a filo pastry type dough almost like you'd find in a croissant. Slightly salty with a wonderful crunch they just neeped a big pot of Alioli on the side to dip into instead of a meagre amount of garlic butter.
For starter I liked the sound of the Hand Rolled Meatballs in Tomato Sauce. They came out with a sensible 5 smallish size meatballs in a bowl with tomato sauce and some melted cheese on top with some gently toasted artisan bread beside. In terms of looks I certainly wasn't blown away and as I bit into the first of my meatballs my initial first impressions were showing to be correct. They just taken like a simple meatball in a rather simple and sparse tomato sauce with a flavourless cheese melted on top. It's only saving grace was the very nice artisan bread alongside. For me the meatballs needed more in terms of seasoning and a small amount of basil would have done wonders with the sauce. £6.50 is a little on the expensive side for a starter and I certainly don't think the Meatballs really even justified their place on a menu. This could have been as a result of the freshness of the Sundried Tomatoes we'd sampled but I felt the tomato sauce was on the very simple side.
I was the only member of the party that opted for pasta for the main meal. I like flavour and a little heat from my dishes so spotted the White Crab, Chilli and Garlic Spaghetti (£15.95) deciding that was my choice.
|Crab, Chilli and Garlic Spaghetti|
My Spaghetti came out nicely presented with finely chopped chilli on top. I initially thought this was just a garnish however this was the chilli within the dish. I drizzled a little chilli oil for extra warmth and began to slice through my Spaghetti to make it more manageable pieces. I was impressed with the amount of crab meat in the dish although for me by mid dish this was overpowering what little garlic and chili that had been put on the plate. I think if I'd walked outside a vampire wouldn't have been scared off by the amount of garlic I'd eaten and I was left rather unimpressed with the amount of chilli and subsequent (lack of a) kick that the dish had. I'd be intrigued to see what others who've tried this dish at Gusto West Bridgford think
By this point of the evening I was feeling rather disappointed, after the fantastic Dough Petals my Meatball starter had been mediocre and my Spaghetti main course hadn't worked for me. It could be amazing for some people but I love big flavours and simply wasn't getting anything over the generous serving of crab. Dessert could now be make or break for me.
|Nutella and Mascarpone Calzone|
With my love of gluttony the logical choice for dessert was the Nutella Calzone. A Pizza dough pocket filled with Nutella and Mascapone Cheese. Usually just give me a pot of Nutella and a spoon and I'm happy so the Calzone option seemed like a win and the dish came out looking amazing with a fine dusting of sugar.
|The Very Runny Nutella and Marscarpone Filling|
Whilst the beautiful pizza dough made the dessert look amazing the contents were simply melted runny Nutella and Mascarpone Cheese which really wanted to escape. It worked well as a dessert but I'd have liked to have seen a thicker, denser filling that would hold to the pizza-dough much better, something like the thick cream you'd often find in a Canoli roll. The present filling was a little too runny and I'm not sure mascarpone and Nutella work so well together. I'm sure there are much better filling options available
The other bloggers in our party were certainly a little more enthusiastic with their choices than myself. Having tried plenty of Italian food over the years including a number of trips I can be rather objective and when a company puts as much into a site as Gusto have into their West Bridgford restaurant I would have expected significantly better. The food was nice, but there's so much nice food about that to draw diners back you need a level or two above nice. The design of the restaurant had that wow factor even if I didn't feel my food did.
|The Cold Smoked Salmon Starter|
For starters the other members of our party opted for the Cold Smoked Salmon (£6.50) and the Oven Roast Pork Ribs (£7.95). The Salmon came out looking lovely. Plenty of fish and a lovely Celeriac Remoulade and whilst the Pork Rib looked a little lonely on the plate I was assured it was succulent,
tender and full of flavour.
|The Pork Ribs Starter|
For Mains the Fillet of Pork 'Saltimbocca' we were told translates as 'Jump in Mouth'. Whilst again it was a nice dish there was no real jump from it and it's presentation needed a little more work. I'd expect my Momma to serve up something similar for a hearty Sunday roast dinner, not an expensive Italian restaurant.
|Slow Cooked Pork Belly|
The Slow Cooked Pork Belly came out looking fantastic and so did the Pan Roast Duck Breast
Gusto has the right environment to be very successful. A fantastic varied Italian Menu. A lot of the options are tried and tested classics you'd expect to see at many an Italian. It's a classics menu with an option for everyone. As I've explained to a few people who've asked my thoughts since- The food was nice. For the prices I'd certainly expect more in terms of flavour.
The staff at Gusto West Bridgford were amazing. Passionate and full of knowledge as well as being attentive and were a credit to the restaurant. Maybe it was just my food options that let down my meal. It was nice, but when there's so much competition in West Bridgford and a short bus journey into town it's a tough marketplace that Gusto is slotting into.
70 Bridgford Road, West Bridgford, NG2 6AP
Tel 0115 9824904