Today on the Dining Diaries…
Authentic Italian food soothes a raging craving,
Noise levels make it hard to communicate and
Befuddled servers amuse.
Diners today we are at Gusto Ristorante on the very popular Norwood Parade.
I tried to search for a website but couldn’t find one which is surprising as it’s a popular place and the server told me they’d been around for about fourteen years.
I may not have looked well enough though…
It was Friday night when we dined and most of the tables were full of people chatting and generally having a good time. We were shown to a table and given a couple of menus.
The wait staff seem pretty friendly although it did take them a very long time to come back and take our order.
The first thing I noticed as I entered Gusto’s was the noise level. Maybe that has something to do with my age but it was difficult to speak over the noise of everybody else.
The decor seems simple but elegant maybe even semi industrial as there were exposed wires and cables here and there.
There didn’t seem to be anything overt to suggest we were entering an Italian restaurant, although there were pizza signs out on the street.
While we waited for the waiter to come back for our order, I couldn’t help but look at the food on other people’s tables and most of it looked so good! The serves were very generous (the pasta dishes in particular)
Finally our server returned and we were able to place an order. He dutifully took it and off he went. About ten minutes later, another waiter comes and stands awkwardly at our table. He’s looking at a folder in his hand, then looking at us, then steps back, then steps forward again. I realised that he was holding someone’s bill.
“Did you ask for your check?” he asks timidly.
“No we haven’t eaten yet” I said smiling. It was a pretty funny moment.
We wanted to sample the food from their wood oven but didn’t particularly want a pizza so hubby chose to have the Calzone. Unfortunately I didn’t get the menu description because it was on the “Specials” menu.
This picture probably makes it seem smaller than it was as the calzone was quite a decent serve. I tried some of the dough as that is my favourite bit and it was beautifully spongy and doughy on the inside, yet toasty and crunchy on the outside.
The server asked hubby if he wanted any chili’s with it and she brought it out in a bowl with olive oil.
I hadn’t seen it presented like that before and hubby just fell in love with it!!
It was a great addition to his meal. He said the chili really enhanced the flavours that were already present.
I didn’t try any of the filling but hubby said it was just perfect. I could see that the filling was actually a substantial amount. Sometimes when you order a calzone you end up getting more air inside than filling.
It was satisfying and delicious and just what a calzone should be.
Being a good Italian girl I love my pasta but decided to step away from my usual go to of Fettucini, and ordered the Cannelloni di Ricotta, Spinaci e Zucca – Layers of House Made Pasta Sheets Filled with Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Topped with Napoletana Sauce & Fresh Basil
My picture does not do it justice at all. It looks like a mess of tomato sauce but honestly, this dish was just so divine!
I have to say though, the stars of this dish were the pasta and the pasta sauce.
The pasta was cooked beautifully and the menu states that the pasta is “house made”.
I specifically asked the waiter about this because it was so impressive and she told me that the owner’s mother makes all the pasta.
My little mind started ticking over thinking, if she’s making ALL the pasta on her own, for all the business this restaurant does, she must never do anything else in life than make pasta!!!
Later on another server told me that she only makes some of the pasta, but that they get the rest, including the pasta they use for the Cannelloni, from another supplier.
The sauce was a beautiful distraction also. I say distraction because I really didn’t notice the filling. I’m not sure I could taste it, there wasn’t that much of it there, but it didn’t matter to me as every mouthful of that pasta and sauce was enriching my Italian soul.
I’ve read a few reviews of Gusto’s and felt perhaps some were a little harsh. Based on my own experience I would have no hesitation in going there again.
It’s still a very popular place and I figure people wouldn’t keep going if they didn’t like what the restaurant had to offer.
Give me a good wine and a nice plate of pasta and you’ll find one happy woman!
Have you been to Gusto’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!
Till next we chow…