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Food profile - Gusto, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 08:49 15 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:49 15 April 2015

Gusto, Manchester

Gusto, Manchester

Rob Smalley

A Cheshire favourite can now be found in Manchester city centre and it doesn't fail to impress as we find out on a recent visit

Whenever I find myself (in the line of duty) asking residents in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle to name their favourite restaurant, nine times out of ten the Gusto name is mentioned.

Diners adore the food, the relaxed ambience and the effortlessly cool interiors of Gusto in Alderley Edge, Cheadle Hulme and Knutsford but is this a brand that translates to the big city?

Owners Living Ventures think so and to prove it, they have revamped the spot previously occupied by Paul Heathcote’s Olive Press restaurant, transforming it into something rather special as I discovered when I accompanied Cheshire Life Editor and Cheshire Life columnist Armand Beasley to Gusto Manchester at Elliot House just off Deansgate.

First impressions. This is a fabulous space design-wise. Everything compliments the original classic, ornate architecture - and then some. There’s a grand-island bar, exclusive private dining and special seating areas that shriek delightful decadence but it is the ambience which most impresses me.

Even before I’ve handed my coat into the reception desk - every upmarket restaurant has one of these don’t you know? - I feel a frisson of excitement. I am already in the mood for the good time, which is what Gusto is all about. And this is before we let ourselves loose on lashings of champagne. Well Louise and I did. Armand being a beauty guru has to take care of himself, like a precious jewel.

As we sipped, we fell into conversation with our waiter and he told us about the mural being painted at the far side of the bar. As part of the £1.3m refurb, artist Michael Browne has been commissioned to depict Manchester icons in his pastiche Renaissance style (he’s famed for a portrait of Eric Cantona looking like a Roman god with the likes of Beckham, Scholes and the Nevilles at his feet that now hangs in the National Museum of Football).

The bar here is brilliant and I could definitely recommended coming back just for drinks but we were hungry and couldn’t wait to try the menu.

Louise chose a Dover sole ‘Colbert’ with brown shrimps and buerre noisett, £29.75 so exquisitely cooked it almost melted on the tongue while I opted for a ‘so earthy it’s sexy’ dish of Pappardelle pasta with freshly sliced truffle, £22.50 and Armand chose a well balanced assemblage of salmon fillet with fennel and celeriac purée £14.75 served with tenderstem broccoli from the a la carte menu. There’s healthy living menu. set menu children’s menu and a lunch menu to explore too - not to mention an excellent wine menu - Cheshire oenophiles will not be disappointed.

The female half of the table found desserts irresistible and made very appreciative noises over a chocolate and hazelnut brownie £5.95 served with pistachio ice cream and chocolate sauce and a chocolate, pistachio and clementine mess - a citrussy choccy version of the traditional meringue fruit and cream Eaton mess, £5.95.

And then it was all over. Was a good time had by all? It sure was. Would we be back? You bet! But Living Ventures plan so many exciting new dining experiences in the city over the next few months will our waistlines be able to stand the strain?

Cheshire Life were guests of Gusto Manchester.

4 Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5AB

0161 832 2866

www.gustorestaurants.uk.com

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