June 4th, 2014

Restaurant Review: Gusto, Alderley Edge

By Phat Cupcake

Restaurant Review: Gusto, Alderley Edge

I remember the first time I went for a night out in Alderley Edge. It was my 25th birthday so a friend and I decided we would go for a ‘posh' night out. When we got there we were told the only place to drink was The Alderley Bar and Grill so off we trotted to check it out. Being the only place to really drink in the village it was absolutely heaving at the small bar and we bowed out early on for a regular haunt in Wilmslow. Fast forward 7 years and the village is completely different. There are lots of new restaurants and bars to tempt you with a few having pretty outdoor terrace areas. One of these is Gusto, part of the Living Ventures group.

I couldn't believe I hadn't visited a Gusto restaurant before. There is a massive one in Cheadle Hulme, where I used to live and regularly drive through to get to my parents house. The theme is authentic Italian so I was excited to see what they had to offer, Italian being my favourite cuisine along with Spanish.

We were warmly greeted by our waitress for the evening Alison and shown to a corner table at the back of the restaurant. Being a nosey so and so this was perfect for me and I took great delight in people watching as well as spying on the chef forming the dough for the pizzas.

Taking forever to decide on our meals we decided to share some olives and garlic bread. This actually delayed our decision further as we simply got distracted by how good the garlic bread was! Half cheese, half tomato it had a crispy and light base with a good kick of garlic.

Still undecided we hit the cocktail menu with Charlie choosing a Gin Old Fashioned and me going for the Passion Fruit Mojito at the recommendation of our waitress. I wasn't expecting to like the combination of Brokers gin, sugar, pink grapefruit, lemon bitters and Campari but the sugar gave it that kick of sweetness that I need in an Old Fashioned. This was almost a combination of that and a negroni which is always a good thing when it comes to Charlie's palate. My Passion Fruit Mojito saw passion fruit and syrup added to a classic mojito for a lovely twist that is perfect for the summer.

Finally decided on food I went for the cannellini bean dip that is served with fennel crisp bread. It was served beautifully encased in a slither of cucumber with a side of baby leaf salad, I felt virtually healthy eating it. The dip itself was smooth, creamy and light with the herbed flat bread the perfect accompaniment.

Charlie went for the salmon tartare topped with a quail's egg served with green gazpacho. The egg was perfectly runny providing a creaminess to cut through the salmon which had a citrus kick along with a good sprinkling of dill. This is a lovely light summer dish and a lovely addition to the menu.

Being a self proclaimed connoisseur of the Porn Star Martini it would have been wrong of me not to see what Gusto had to offer in this department and our waitress assured me that I would not be disappointed. The slight twist to the usual recipe uses pineapple instead of passionfruit with vodka (in this case a favourite of mine, Reyka) passoa, pineapple juice, vanilla syrup and lemon served with the signature Prosecco shot on the side. The pineapple made this version lighter meaning the vodka really is prominent within the drink. It's up there with one of my favourites.

Onto the mains and I chose the lobster and prawn spaghetti. I was expecting there to be very little lobster as is usual with this kind of dish but I was pleasantly surprised. There was lots of it in lovely big juicy chunks. The prawns were also juicy, plump and plentiful. Binding it all together was a rich tomato sauce with a hint of chilli to warm the mouth and a good hit of garlic. Another good summer dish although not that light as the plate full was huge!

Charlie went for something heavier ordering the mushroom risotto with optional pancetta. Being a hater of all things funghi I tried a tiny bit of the risotto that hadn't been tainted with mushroom flavours. It was creamy, the rice still having bite, the way a good risotto should be. Charlie said the mushrooms were lovely but you will have to take her word for it. There is no way I was going near them.

Coaxed into trying a side we opted for the fried courgettes. Cut into julienne they had a light batter coating with a good dose of seasoning, they were gorgeous and had to be wrestled away from me when I was becoming too full to move.

Being a fizz lover it was hard to ignore the Gusto Bellini. Just set prosecco jelly studded with peach topped with a frothy Prosecco foam was the perfect light ending to my meal. Charlie went for the Italian mess which arrived looking beautifully lilac. It must have been good because I didn't get a look in!

A sweet fizzy aperitif of Chambord, vanilla syrup and Prosecco in the form of the Vanilla Berry Fizz followed and then my challenge for the bartender. Well I like to see what they can do... our waitress suggested we try their milkshakes saying they were great. I asked if they made boozy milkshakes and this beauty arrived shortly after. Vanilla milkshake with Chambord topped with kirsch soaked cherries. Good Lord if you do nothing else, ask them for one of these. It was just gorgeous and I'm looking forward to going back on a sunny day to sit on their terrace with this bad boy and watch the wealthy scoot by.

It's a little bit out of the way for most but Gusto is definitely worth a trip out. The service was impeccable with Alison managing to find the perfect balance between chatty conversation and food/drink service. There are trains regularly from Piccadilly with the last train back around 11.30pm mid week, there is no excuse to miss out. And now there are so many bars and restaurants popping up I simply have to go back to try more, once I've had my boozy shake that is.

We ate and drank as guests of Gusto. This review is completely honest and unbiased, I can't wait to go back.

Tags: Alderley Edge, Blog, Gusto, Phat Cupcake
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