June 4th, 2014

Gusto Alderley Edge

By Gin Fuelled Bluestocking

Gusto Alderley Edge

I've never really considered myself a snob - a bit of a gin snob maybe, but not when it comes to people and places.

But when Keeley asked me to go with her to Gusto in Alderley Edge, I... well... I baulked. And then I caught myself and wondered why. I was thinking of all the things I associate with the place - footballers, millionaires, ladies who lunch. All the things I'm not. I'm the granddaughter of a miner, left school at 15, pretty much as working class as you can get.

And that was when I got cross with myself. Whatever the reason, I was being biased - the one thing I pride myself on not being.

So of course, I said yes.

That was why Keeley and I found ourselves alighting from a train in sunshine, with dark clouds threatening, and walking the leafy lanes of Alderley Edge. It's bloomin pretty.

And the number of independents would rival Chorlton or Didsbury easily. Given I live in a town with very few indies, it was a reminder of things that Stretford is fighting for.

Gusto itself is part of a small chain, but it still seems to maintain an air of independence about it. Gusto in Didsbury is very different from it's sister in Cheadle Hulme, and it's cousin in Knutsford. What they do have is a warm welcome and Alderley Edge was no different.

For a Tuesday evening, it was busy - and the scents coming from the kitchen were enticing. As we settled in our little booth in the corner, we had a great view of almost the entire restaurant, including the kitchen and we could indulge in a little people watching while we dined.

As we pondered the drinks menu a bowl of fat tasty olives arrived, soon followed by garlic bread - half cheese, half topped with tomato. Despite our automatic preference for cheese, both Keeley and I found the tomato to be divine and spent a few minutes politely squabbling over the slices in a sort of passive aggressive ‘ no you have it' manner.

Drinks thankfully distracted us from our bickering. Eschewing wine for once, we were hitting the cocktails - Keeley continuing her search for the best Pornstar Martini in the world obviously had to indulge.

I, however, was intrigued by the Gin Old Fashioned - Broker's gin, sugar, pink grapefruit, lemon bitters and Campari. It seemed to combine the best of both a Negroni and and Old Fashioned in one.

And it was pretty. It also tasted great - the grapefruit kept it from being as heavy and bitter as a Negroni, but you could still taste the Campari and the gin. Neither was lost.

When it came to our starters, I'd spotted mine in the menu almost immediately - the salmon tatare - home cured salmon, quail's egg, green gazpacho puree and creme fraiche.

Gusto Alderley Edge

I was not disappointed. The salmon was firm and delectable, lots of flavour, the egg was poached to perfection, oozing over the pile of salmon, both the creme fraiche and the gazpacho adding a light acidity and freshness to the dish.

The bread, dotted with fennel seeds, was a great touch to the dish, the crisp dough and herby fennel contrasting nicely with the creamy, nutty dip.

Onto the mains and a world of indecision. Keeley had chosen the Lobster and prawn spaghetti in a tomato sauce (utterly gorgeous) and I wanted to select a vegetarian option.

But I saw that the Grana Padano risotto with chestnut and oyster mushrooms with with truffle butter came with optional pancetta. You can see where this is going can't you?

All thoughts of being healthy went out the window. This was just amazing. Rich and nutty, creamy, truffly, salty heaven. I'm going back for this alone. This, a quiet table and it's going to get all of my attention.

Even Keeley who hates mushrooms (with a passion, just ask her to say the word and she screws her face up akin to my cat coming across a banana) tried the risotto itself and declared her envy.

By now we were on cocktail number two -and I had asked for a Lemon and Thyme Royale. Lemone, thyme, and a little sugar shaken with Gin Mare, and topped with Prosecco. Admittedly, fizz does go to my head, but this little twist had be curious. Gin Mare for me is quite savoury on the palate. Add in another savoury flavour, thyme, sourness from the lemon and dryness from the Prosecco and it was a lovely dry take on a Royale. Not a hint of sweet, perfect for me.

Keeley had also decided on Prosecco with the Vanilla Berry Fizz, Chambord black raspberry
liqueur and vanilla syrup topped up with Prosecco. The complete opposite to my more savoury selection.

And so to dessert. I was admittedly rather full by this point, so I opted for the Italian Mess - after all, meringue and whipped cream are 50% air.

Gusto Alderley Edge

Of course, I forgot about the other 50% mostly being sugar, fruit and cream, but this was a lovely dessert option - crisp powdery meringue, softly whipped cream and lots of fruit to balance it out.

Keeley was most definitely sticking with the fizzy theme with the Gusto Bellini, peach and Prosecco jelly and a Prosecco foam. She was a very happy lady.

Full, and close to needing someone to roll me home, Keeley then requested a cherry on top, and a boozy, Chambord filled milkshake appeared, accompanied by Kirsch sozzled cherries appeared.

Gusto Alderley Edge

My, my but it was pretty. And alcoholic and, though it pained me, I had no room remaining. It would have been my ‘wafer thin mint‘.

I left it in Keeley's safe hands, sipped my cocktail and pondered. How did I feel about Alderley Edge?

In truth, I was very glad I'd visited. Everyone had been lovely, from the manager to the other restaurant goers. We'd watched people in suits and designer dresses dine, as well as a couple in jeans (on their second or third date we surmised). We saw business types and families.

Normal people.

And as we walked, in the now chilly air, to the train station, words from a certain Mr Schwarzenegger popped into my head (but with a little less accent and a lighter tone of voice).

I'll be back.

 

Tags: Alderley Edge, Blog, Gin Fuelled Bluestocking, Gusto
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