July 28th, 2015

Gusto Knutsford Review

Blog by Marie-Elise Worswick

Based bang in the middle of King Street, "Gusto" is at the heart of the Knutsford social scene.

"Gusto", meaning ‘taste' in Italian, has fierce competition from another five Italian restaurants within a mile radius, but it's clear to see who's winning in terms of atmosphere, cuisine and value for money.

We are greeted at the door by a member of the wonderful front of house staff and seated near the front of the restaurant. Even though the tables are relatively close to each other, they have the perfect sound system - you are able to hear the person sat opposite you, but you can't hear what the people at other tables are saying. It's noisy, with jazz music playing in the background, but doesn't feel hectic. It's got the ambience of a New York jazz bar. Sophisticated, elegant and very glamorous.

Gusto Knutsford Review

The team of staff are all very professional and have been trained to perfection. They all know what their job is, and they all know how to do it well. We meet our waiter for the evening, Juan, who is quite a character, being funny, charming and making you feel at home in the restaurant. The wine list we are presented with is vast, and they have a extensive range from the different regions of Italy, generally at reasonable prices (from £16.50 a bottle). We order a garlic pizza bread to share (£3.95), a glass of Il Banchetto Rossi wine and a pint of draught lager.

We knew from the minute we tasted the garlic bread that we were in for a treat of an evening. The bread melted in your mouth, yet the base also had a crispiness to it.

On asking for allergy advice, we were presented with a large folder which told you which meals contained which allergens. It was easy to understand, and our waiter was also very knowledgable about the food, recommending different dishes depending on which allergy you had.

For a starter, we ordered the gluten free salmon tartare with a homemade quails egg (£6.95). I was well and truly blown away. The home cured salmon arrived with the most wonderful presentation, a lemon puree on the side, and a soft boiled quails egg encased in the middle. The tartness of the creme fraiche complimented the dill and the sweetness of the salmon, and the spicy radish gave a little bite to it as well. Each ingredient complimented the other one.

We also ordered the tiger prawns (£7.50), which are also gluten free provided you don't have the ciabatta on the side.

The tiger prawns came in a fresh tomato and cream sauce with a hint of garlic. In terms of value, I don't think I've ever received so many prawns in a starter before, and the richness of the sauce with the sweetness of the seafood was magical.

One of the bonuses with this restaurant is that you are able to order smaller portions. This is great if you're someone with a small appetite...or someone like me who wanted to leave room for dessert!

I ordered the gluten free penne with prawns and garlic (£6.50). Being offered fresh parmesan from an actual block of cheese was an added bonus. The prawns were in a tomato based sauce with slices of fresh chilli on top, the chilli adding an extra dimension of flavour to the dish, and the gluten free pasta was cooked al dente. From the first bite to the last, it was a pleasure to eat.

My partner ordered the Grana Padano Risotto with pancetta (£6.50). My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I tasted it. The dish had clearly been cooked by someone who was well accomplished at cooking, as the saltiness of the pancetta with the creaminess of the risotto was a match made in heaven. The risotto was cooked superbly - it had kept it's form and hadn't turned mushy, and also had a little bite to it as well. The mushrooms had soaked up the salty, juicy flavours of the pancetta, and the truffle oil was ‘bellissimo'!

For pudding, we were recommended the chocolate coffee mousse (£5.50) which is the most popular dessert, and it's easy to see why. The mousse had a rich, intense flavour, with salted chocolate on the bottom, and light coffee mousse on the top. The two created an extraordinarily good balance.
I was recommended the baked flaming alaska (£7.50) which was quite an event to end the evening on. The layer of cherry sponge, covered in vanilla ice cream and encased in a meringue was covered in cherry brandy and then set alight at the table. A totally enchanting dish. The gooeyness of the meringue with the cold ice-cream and tart cherry flavour harmonised on the plate and was a wonderful end to a wonderful evening.

There's also a wide range of coffees to choose from, and we ordered a double macchiatto (£2.50) made with fresh coffee beans and brewed superbly. It was so good, we ordered another one!

It's easy to understand why ‘Gusto' is the most successful restaurant in Knutsford. It's an utterly charming restaurant with highly professional staff, a welcoming ambience and you know that everything which comes out of the kitchen is going to be outstanding.

I don't know how they do it, and as long as they keep it up, I know that Gusto, Knutsford is somewhere that will continue to be successful for years to come.



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