[Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester] Gusto

Gusto is a small chain of 13 Italian restaurants, with most of their outlets here in the northwest where it started. The menu features the usual suspects of pizza, pasta and Anglicised Italian dishes. And a couple of steaks and a burger – cos there’s always someone who “just fancies a steak”.

That someone was my companion in life. She’d started with scallops – a good looking plate, as it should be for the most expensive starter on the menu. There’s three big, juicy scallops lightly cooked and presented on pea puree (flavoured with a little mint), some crisp pancetta, a little chilli oil and what was described as a “pork crumb” but seemed to be just crisp breadcrumbs. Nice.

So, back to that steak. A 10oz ribeye. Always strikes me as a bit odd that steaks seem to be still described in old fashioned Imperial weight. But, that aside, Gusto really see you coming with this one – at £28.95, this is very aspirational pricing. Not least for a steak that was quite scaggy. It comes with a flavoured butter, fries, a handful of rocket and shavings of pecorino. Dessert was a pleasant enough concoction called Bombolini, which we hadn’t come across before but appears to be traditionally Italian. Small doughnuts, served warm, topped with Chantilly cream, chocolate and Biscoff sauces and a dollop of fruits of the forest sorbet.

I surprised myself by ordering a vegetarian meal (although not as big a surprise as if I’d ordered steak). Bruschetta to start. Two slices of toasted bread, topped with chopped tomato, a little basil and garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Pleasant enough. Rigatoni Arrabbiata was a decent version of an old favourite – perfectly al dente pasta, with a thick tomato sauce spiked with chilli and basil. They also offer this with the addition of chicken or pepperoni but I stuck with the traditional. I passed on dessert, as none appealed.

I thought service was particularly on the ball throughout the meal, both from table and bar servers.

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Yes, it will appeal to a particular section of British society. Another bit of spin that is, surely, not a co-incidence that it closely follows the damning report about “Partygate” earlier this week.

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I’ll remember this trip to Gusto, not for the food but for the place where, without doubt and after two years of keeping ourselves safe, I caught Covid. Which meant our planned cruise to celebrate our Golden Wedding was cancelled on us (cruise line required a full vaccination certificate and negative lateral flow test).


So sorry to hear that.

Take care, John, and get well soon.