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Review: Gusto restaurant, Albert Dock, Liverpool

by Angela Johnson. Published Mon 11 Aug 2014 16:33

Gusto in Italian means 'taste' while, of course, in English it is used to describe doing something with great enthusiasm or vigorous enjoyment. Gusto restaurant, nestled amongst the maze of eateries at the Albert Dock, offers a warm welcome and a bright, enjoyable setting for dining on a night out with friends, your partner or family. Whether you're popping in for a cocktail or a three course meal, Gusto's staff are attentive and eager to accommodate.

Arriving on a busy summer evening, we found the bar bustling with patrons perusing the extensive cocktail menu. Directed to the bar while we waited for our table for two, well, we decided it'd be rude not to indulge...

My partner's sweet tooth opted for the 'Cinnamon Alexander' (£8.00). Described as 'a spicy twist on an old classic', the Martell VS, chocolate liqueur, milk, cream and cinnamon syrup combined to make a smooth, creamy dream of a drink to start your evening's merriment. Meanwhile, I was enticed by a spot of "mother's ruin" with the 'Gin Old Fashioned' (£8.00) A delicate mix of Broker’s gin, stirred slowly with sugar, fresh pink grapefruit, lemon bitters and a splash of Campari. I marveled watching the mixologists work their magic, keeping their cool as the queue around the bar swarmed ever larger. We sat outside to enjoy our cocktails, taking in the calm expanse of the Albert Dock under the gentle orange hue of evening sunshine.

While we waited, we took in the menu's array of Italian classics, often with a contemporary twist. To start, my partner was hooked by the 'Home cured salmon tartare and quails egg with creme fraiche and green gazpacho' (£6.95). The salmon was fresh, light and melt-in-the-mouth. Coupled with the quails egg and creme fraiche, an exquisitely fresh and generous dish perfect to get you salivating for more. I chose the saltier combination of seafood and meat with the 'Sardine fillets wrapped in prosciutto ham with spiced tomato compote, rocket and lemon' (£5.95). Each ample fillet was cooked to moist perfection, flaking delicately with the mere touch of my fork. The prosciutto's sweet texture combined with the spiced tomato compote was a triumphant addition to whet one's appetite.

There's much competition among the restaurants at the Albert Dock, and Gusto really proved itself under pressure on this busy Thursday. Our waiter was thoroughly amiable, helping us choose a red wine to match our mains, and encouraging us to relax at every stage of the meal even as he juggled waiting on at least 8 tables at once.

For main, amid the vast choice of enticing pizzas and pastas, I couldn't resist The Carnivore pizza (£12.50). Topped with roast chicken, meatballs, prosciutto ham, pepperoni, Bolognese and onions it was a colossal, winning combination I'd recommend for all meat lovers. Each topping surpassed the other as my favourite bite as I hungrily devoured the lot - with gusto!

My dining companion had his mind on saving room for dessert, and so chose a less hefty main in 'Seared tuna steak, marinated in balsamic and soy with a fennel and orange salad and green gazpacho' (£18.95). He felt the tuna steak a tad on the over-cooked side, but nonetheless succulent and assured me the citrus and fennel combination worked well as complementary flavours, cutting through the tuna and lingering on the taste buds.

Having had 'eyes bigger than belly' syndrome, I was defeated by the Carnivore, yet, upon spying the unusual 'Nutella and Mascarpone calzone served with vanilla ice cream' (£5.95) on the dessert menu, we'd decided early on we simply had to share this dish to find out what it was like. In a word: divine! The quirky presentation alone is worth the price, arriving like a work of art on the plate, we even asked for an extra dollop of pistachio ice cream. The dough wasn't as sickly sweet as I'd expected, and as the chocolate nutty flavour oozed out we wished we'd ordered two while fighting over the last spoonful...Exceedingly naughty but nice!


For more information visit www.gustorestaurants.uk.com or call 0151 7086969.


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