I shall begin by stating the obvious; Newcastle is a big city which has long yearned for a ‘big city restaurant’. Finally our calls seemingly have been answered judging by the influx of ‘big city restaurants’ cropping up in Newcastle, as if we were the last northern frontier for these gastronomic giants to conquer.
“ideology formed from both provenance and excellence”
Gusto is definitely up there amongst these giants!
Part of the Living Ventures Group, Gusto prides itself on an ideology formed from both provenance and excellence, of which, in my opinion, are the two fundamental ingredients for any successful restaurant.
Gusto Newcastle, situated on the city’s vibrant Quayside, certainly looks the part. With its sleek glass front complimented with a spacious outside seating area.
If you’ve ever previously visited a Living ventures establishment you’ll know that when it comes to their layout and décor. Attention to detail is always paramount. Gusto Newcastle is no exception with a modern, stylish, sophisticated interior consisting of high ceilings, a spacious bar area and a spiral staircase leading to an upper floor. The seating arrangements are a spacious blend of comfortable leather seats and descent sized dining tables.
The recently revamped menu offers a varied and interesting range of dishes consisting of the usual Italian favourites plus a range of speciality authentic meat, fish and vegetable dishes along with a few of Gusto’s own innovative twists to boot.
I started with an offering from the ‘Deli Counter’, the highly recommended Cured Meat Platter. For a very reasonable £6:95 I was offered a choice of three Italian meat superstars from the half a dozen or so options, served with rosemary focaccia and a tomato chutney. It was perfection on a platter, the perfect flavour balance between the sweetness of the bread, the tang of the chutney and the full bodied salty flavours of the meat. I highly recommend this dish.
For the main, I ordered the Salt Baked Whole Sea Bass infused with Lemon and Italian herbs (£17:95) and a side of steamed spinach with sea salt (£3:75). I believe this method of cooking fish is common in Sicily and produces a really moist, perfectly seasoned fish. I had previuosly heard about this method and was always intrigued as to how it would taste.
The dish was placed at my side and the waitress expertly cracked away the salt revealing the fish underneath. What remained was indeed a moist, perfectly seasoned fish with subtle hints of lemon and herbs, “bellissimo!”
Having devoured these two courses I had no room for desert despite all of the deserts on the menu sounding truly scrumptious. “Oh well,” maybe next time.
Throughout the evening, I noted, this slick restaurant ran like clockwork despite being packed to the rafters. This was no coincidence and all credit must go to the uber efficient staff headed by Louise, the general manager, a Living Ventures veteran of over ten years who was charming and definitely knew her onions.
If other ‘big city restaurants’ are planning to conquer Newcastle they should definitely pay a visit to Gusto Newcastle and observe how things ‘should’ be done, in order for them to truly follow in a giants footseps.
106 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3DX
0191 260 2291
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