As a regular patron of the Gusto restaurant in Didsbury, I was super keen to check out the new Gusto in Manchester’s city centre.
Located on Lloyd Street, off of Deansgate, Gusto is an inconspicuous venue that doesn’t scream and shout at first glance. However, it all changes when you open the door; ascend a staircase and take a swift turn into the glittery splendour of the restaurant. Prepare to be transported into a timelessly classy and uplifting venue with various seating styles and a 360-degree bar perched in the centre for after meal drinks and lavish lounging. With a distinct 1920s art deco feel, Gusto has a certain level of charm, sophistication and glamour. As I sat at my circular booth in the corner of the restaurant, I half expected Jay Gatsby to waltz over and enlighten me with a romantic tale as my eyes were dazzled by amber lighting and stylised interiors.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
Manchester’s latest Gusto is suave, yet welcoming. The door hosts are immaculately presented, as are the servers and the managers that saunter around the vast labyrinth of tables, booths and bar space. Angeles, the general manager, was keen to introduce himself and recommend the specials – the Langoustines being a particular favourite of his. He informed us that my companion and I were visiting merely four days after Gusto’s opening, and so we were quietly impressed to see the restaurant filled with relaxed and joyful clientele as though the restaurant were an old trusted favourite for family celebrations and sophisticated girly catch-ups. Despite it being the fourth night after its opening, Gusto’s operations ran smoothly, without a hint of apprehensiveness and with an extra dash of optimistic expectation. A certainty that Gusto Manchester will be integral to Manchester’s restaurant bar echelon in the next few months hung in the air.
The Food and Drink
I’m a sucker for a martini – especially concoctions that I have never sampled before – and Gusto has a whole page of them on the drinks menu! My Strawberry and Vanilla martini washed down with ease, and my companion’s Red Currant Mai Tai tasted like a sunny holiday. For starters I had the Creamed Celeriac and Leek Soup with Rosemary and Garlic toasted Focaccia Bread – a flavoursome, comforting and warming introduction to the taste sensations that were about to follow. The humble yet classic Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella dish was on my mate’s plate and was delightfully and impressively delicious given how simple its assemblage. A beautifully tender Rump Steak and a Sea Bass dish later, and we were convinced that Gusto Manchester’s fare lives up to Gusto Didsbury’s standards… even though we could not cram in another mouthful! We opted for a small glass of Passito Carlo Pellegrino dessert wine, instead of a third course, which was treacly sweet, warming and soothing.
Gusto in Didsbury may have some competition as my go-to choice for girly meals and cocktail nights out. It's younger, glitzier counterpart has hit the town with gusto, and I will certainly be booking a table for me and my girl friends in the near future.