Private dining at Gusto Manchester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 April 2019
The private dining room at Gusto on Deansgate in Manchester city centre is the perfect place for a celebration
When I was much younger the ‘private dining room’ was a place occupied by Mafia heads who wanted to break the fingers of a rival boss, or a wealthy sugar daddy out to seduce a young girl. Well this is what they were used for when I saw them on the TV. They were usually festooned with red velvet drapes and had a decadent vibe.
Fast forward to now and the private dining room has become a must-have in many a large restaurant, designated as spaces to keep hens and stags out of shrieking distance of regular diners or for families brought together for a special occasion, they are a permanent fixture on the dining scene.
Gusto has been open on Deansgate for nearly four years now and has lost none of its charm. The design has retained the sense of being fabulous, thanks to the grand-island bar and special discreet seating areas.
The bar here is brilliant but we were here for a special occasion so headed through the restaurant to the very back where the open kitchen lives. Up a few steps and through the secret door and there we were in our own private dining room with no Mafia boss or sugar daddy in sight.
It’s a lovely looking room with a window looking out onto Lloyd Street. A couple of bottles of bubbly awaited in a champagne bucket at the corner of a table filled with flutes, dressing for the occasion had never felt more appropriate.
The occasion was Louise Taylor’s last supper as Cheshire Life editor, and we wanted her to bow out in style. After catching up over drinks and canapés, we gathered around a large square table illuminated overhead by an almost as large square pendant light. The white tablecloth and candles made the space feel elegant and smart.
Matthew our waiter made sure glasses were charged with Sauvignon Blanc and took our orders. That’s another great thing about having a private dining room, having your own designated waiting staff, attentive but not intrusive.
The special occasion menu at £40 a head includes one starter, main course and pudding but there were nibbles such as olives, smoked almonds, cheese and truffle crispy ravioli and dough petals with tomato crispy shallots and romesco mayonnaise dip to keep hunger at bay.
Elegantly Italian is how the menu is described and there are some real crowd-pleasers on the menu including starters of a Milanese saffron risotto that’s soft and creamy, sweet king prawns accompanied by the tang of pickled fennel, tomatoes and capers and Milanese style meatballs that have a little kick of chilli to liven the palette.
Traditionalists were catered for with West Country rib eye steak with garlic butter, rocket, sun dried tomatoes and fries and they were impressed by the spot on cooking of the meat, honey glazed duck and balsamic came with cavalo nero an a deliciously creamy mash and the oven roasted cauliflower steak was a real winner elevated by almonds and seeds and a deeply sweet tomato coulis.
There was tuna steak and a pan roast rump of lamb that was accompanied by a powerful side of truffled canellini beans and a lightly fried polenta.
Desserts included homemade Gusto tiramisu that had us wondering what the ‘secret recipe’ was, a gorgeously sticky brownie served with salted caramel ice cream and a cheese board filled with generous portions of smoked provola, goat’s cheese and dolcelatte, crackers, honey, walnuts and celery.
Whatever the occasion, your private dining room makes it that bit more special
Gusto Manchester, 4 Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5AB.
0161 832 2866,