Formerly one of Paul Heathcote’s Olive Presses, the Gusto in Cheadle Hulme is now one of several that are part of the ever-expanding Living Ventures chain of restaurants and bars. Last week, I blogged about my visit to their swanky city centre ‘fusion’ restaurant – Australasia and was not overly positive due largely do their failure to meet my expectations (see here).
With Gusto though, it’s a different story. It’s actually the closest restaurant to my home and as a result we have been a number of times, both when it was an Olive Press and since it became a Gusto – every time, so far, we have received the quality of food and service that one would expect from a decent ‘chain restaurant’.
To nibble on we started with a bowl of Marinated olives (£2.75) and some Gusto dough petals with garlic butter (£2.95) – both tasty and presented well.
My wife and I then shared Houmus with flat bread, carrots and cucumber (£5.25) Mussels steamed in a white wine, garlic and cream sauce with ciabatta (£6.75) and a side of Italian fried courgettes (£2.95).
Being critical, the carrot sticks were a bit old and dry and could’ve been cut fresh but the houmus was good and the flat bread excellent.
The mussels were also good with a creamy flavoursome sauce – I had hoped to have the mussels, so I took along my silver plated mussel tongs that my wife had bought me for Christmas (a great gift for the foodie that has everything!)
Their fried courgettes (Italian or otherwise) are always a favourite.
For her ‘main’ my wife ordered the Baked avocado with baby scallops served with rocket and tomato dressing (£6.95) from the starters section and was very impressed. A simple but tasty dish, I have since recreated this at home.
Greedily, I selected two mains; a small Wild mushroom risotto finished with truffle oil and grana padano (sm £5.75/ lge £8.95) and Pan-fried seabream fillets with tomato marmalade and polenta chips (£13.75).
Both dishes were perfectly well cooked and seasoned. The polenta chips though were the stars – I’ll definitely be ordering a side of these on our next visit, whatever we order.
As the menu reminds, ‘gusto’ translates as a hearty, vigorous or keen enjoyment – certainly, for what it is, I have always enjoyed my meals at Gusto.