Review – Gusto

When news came about that Grill On The Corner’s sister restaurant Gusto was opening in Glasgow, I have to admit, it didn’t excite me in the slightest. This was primarily due to another chain coming to Glasgow, which we’ve seen enough of in the past year! I was asked to go for dinner to review the restaurant a few days after it opened & figured I’d go & see if they could open my eyes.

Whilst Grill On The Corner is all about the steak, Gusto focusses on Italian dishes, with a wide range of pizza & pasta dishes on offer. First glance at the menu & I was pleasantly surprised at the wide range of healthier options in the form of salads & fish dishes. This was music to my ears as I’m currently watching what I eat, even though I’d kill for a big pizza most days!!

I really enjoyed the decor of the restaurant, with its large globe lights & crackled effect walls. It gave the restaurant a 1920s feel to it, without trying hard. This was further enhanced with the water jug & candle holders on the table. The staff were all dressed immaculately in black waistcoats & ties. This gave the restaurant a high end feel to it but the atmosphere is anything but pretentious like you may expect. Instead, the waiting staff are all happy to chat away to you & ensure you’re having a good time.

decor

For starter, I could not resist ordering the salmon tartare whilst A opted for the deep fried salt cod ravioli (which I had my eye on as well). The salmon tartare was neatly stacked, with a quails egg & creme fraiche accompanying it. The creme fraiche went really well with it, adding a bit of moisture to it. In all honesty, I didn’t know why the quails egg was on the dish. It didn’t add anything to it & it feels like it was just there to pad out the dish, which was required as the salmon was so fresh. With every mouthful, I wanted more. I could have easily eaten another portion of it, it was that good! I tried a bit of the salt cod ravioli & it was crispy on the outside with flaky cod on the inside. A commented that there wasn’t much of a salty taste to it which was expected given the dish’s description.

starter

After looking at the menu, I had my heart set of the seared tuna steak for dinner. It’s a dish I really enjoy & just can’t get it right at home so wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to have it made properly. However, as it was ordered, the waitress informed me that it had disappeared from her tablet screen, indicating that the last one had been ordered. Although I was really impressed at the technology they were using, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the tuna wasn’t available. On the waitress’ recommendation I opted for the salt baked seabass instead.

fish

When the mains came, the seabass was a spectacle. It arrived in a large platter, absolutely covered in salt & was prepped by the waiter before being placed on my dish. I chose to have a side of green beans & shallots with my fish. The fish itself was cooked perfectly, with slightly crispy skin & tender, flaky flesh. As the waiter scrapes off most of the salt, there wasn’t much left on the fish at all. The side dish was also a hit, with buttery crunchy green beans & soft grilled shallots. Very moreish! The pasta dish that A ordered I wasn’t too keen on after a taste. It was tagiatelle with prawn & garlic in a sweet chilli tomato sauce. For me, the sauce was too sweet giving it an almost chinese takeaway type taste to it. A, however, enjoyed it, commenting that the only issue for him was that the pasta was a bit soft.

pasta

Gusto’s dessert menu is one of the few that I could actually pick quite a few dishes off it. I think I must be getting a sweet tooth in my old age! The highlight being the nutella & marscapone calzone – who could resist that?! Unfortunately, I had to due to watching what I’m eating. Instead, I chose the strawberry & passion fruit mess whilst A went for the sticky toffee pudding. Alas, it was not to be as I was informed by the waitress that the fruit mess was not available. It was the third strike for us as one of the house beers wasn’t available when A tried to order it. It was quite disappointing given the restaurant had only been open a few days & it’s a chain so they should know what to expect. Either way it was probably a blessing in disguise for me as I was actually quite stuffed from what I had eaten! Naturally I stole a bite of the sticky toffee pudding. The sponge was melt in the mouth soft, with a sweet toffee sauce. I was surprised A didn’t lick the plate in the end!

pudding

Although it was clear that there were some teething problems with Gusto, it did not detract the fact that the dishes we’d eaten had been of a high standard & really delicious. Having seen other diners eating the pizzas, I know we’ll definitely be back so I can have one! Given the recent influx of burger & steak oriented restaurants in Glasgow, it’s nice to have a breath of fresh air being introduced into the Glasgow restaurant scene.

Disclaimer: We were given this meal for free & all views are of my own with no influence from the restaurant or their PR company. The PR company has also asked me to share the restaurant’s twitter account, which you can access at @gustoglasgow

 

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Get Stuffed Chronicles – Bringing the Bake Back

As the title suggests, I’ve found my baking bug again. Last year, I did several fairs which involved spending 1 full day & at least 3 nights a week baking. I think it was a bit of overkill for me as 50% of the time, the fairs were quiet & it was quite disheartening given the amount of effort I put in. Since Christmas I haven’t really done much baking so decided to sort that out the other week.

Since Easter is around the corner, I decided for Mother’s day to bake a couple of seasonal goodies. I’ve always fancied trying hot cross buns, even though I’m not a big fan myself. I did not realise how long they took to make! Honestly, they require more proving than your average loaf!! However, after a labour of love, I produced my first ever batch of hot cross buns that I was very pleased with. I think longer proving would have improved the size of them but they were scoffed down by family which is always a good sign.

My sister had given me the idea of making mini egg brownies as I already make creme egg brownies. Mini eggs are pretty much the only Cadbury’s product I love so it was a no brainer! Of course the baking gremlins had to ruin this idea! I used my go to brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery (if you’re ever in London, pay them a visit!) but with my focus being too much on the hot cross buns, I didn’t put my oven to the right temperature. This meant a batch of what looked like cooked brownies but they were all gooey & underbaked inside. That said, my husband & sister still ate some as they were still nice & chocolately if not the right consistency.

hot cross

This sunday I also tried a couple of experimental bakes with double choc m&m cookies & protein brownie. I was so pleased with the cookies & will be posting the recipe shortly. I’m on a weight loss journey at the moment (I won’t bore you with details) so decided that the recipe for protein brownies from Mike Samuels of Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting sounded worth a shot. For me, since I’m used to making “real” brownies, the consistency of these was too weird. It was a sponge-like texture & tasted a bit strange. That said, once mixed with a bit of agave syrup, greek yoghurt & berries, it was perfectly edible. Further experimentation is required for this one…

cookies

It’s not all been about the bakes in the world of Get Stuffed! I actually have eaten at 2 restaurants I’ve not been to before – Butchershop & Ichiban. However, on both occasions I was not in blogger mode so did not take any pictures of my meals to share. Shock horror I know! Sometimes it’s not all about the food but about the company & having a good meal with friends, which both of these occasions were so it completely slipped my mind to take pictures.

For dinners recently, I have been really impressed with the quality of the dishes I’ve made using some BBC Good Food Recipes. I got a subscription to the magazine as a Christmas present & have been hooked ever since. The bonus is that a lot of the recipes are on the website too for ease instead of digging out old copies of magazines! Recently I’ve made Chicken Cacciatore, Dan Dan Turkey Noodles, Soused cabbage & Vietnamese Caramelised Trout. My favourite being the Chicken Cacciatore as it was so full of flavour, just like a dish from an Italian restaurant & so easy to make! (PS follow me on instagram @getstuffedbakes to see regular foodie photos)

dinner

Carrying on from the last time, here’s some foodie news & openings:

  • Gesso Lounge – a new coffee bar at Charing Cross
  • Chop Chop – Edinburgh’s well known authentic Chinese restaurant has opened a restaurant in Mitchell St
  • Nonna Gina’s – an Italian restaurant & bar opening in The Avenue in Newton Mearns, 26th March
  • Nic’s NYC Deli – They have converted the crepe a croissant on Byres Rd into another Nic’s. But fear not crepe lovers as this branch will also be serving some crepes.

The Pelican Cafe

I did not realise that I haven’t posted for over a month until I sat down to write this. Apologies for the silence, things have been busy in the world of Get Stuffed with a new baking venture (more details once I get the blog updated – check out my facebook page for more details).

Anyway, back to The Pelican Cafe. We visited the restaurant recently as we had a 2 course with prosecco deal that was due to run out. The Pelican Cafe is in a strange location, directly across from Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum yet in-between the bustling restaurant & bar areas of Finnieston & Byres Rd. Definitely one of those “you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it” venues.

I was surprised to see the restaurant quite busy at 6pm on a Sunday given that is usually a quiet time between services on a Sunday. We were given a choice of tables & decided to sit next to the open kitchen as I quite like being able to see what the chefs are up to. The only stipulation of our deal was that we could not choose any of the fish main courses. I had had a peek of the menu before we went & had my heart set on a beef stew that contained brisket, ox cheek & a few other cuts. I was quite disappointed to see that was not on the menu. In this day & age, it does not take long to update a menu on the site so there’s no excuse really.

Goat's cheese tartinPotted salmon

Our starters arrived – I opted for the goat’s cheese tartin with caramelised onion marmalade & Al went for the potted smoked salmon. The presentation of both dishes was lovely. The goats cheese was very fresh & there was a lot of it. Unfortunately, despite being advertised as having caramelised onion marmalade, there was literally a teaspoon of it on top of the tart. This made the dish slightly dry as it was mainly cheese & pastry. I was reluctant to try the potted salmon as I’d had potted shrimps years ago & it tasted of butter only. However, there was only a thin layer of butter on this portion & it was more like a salmon mousse underneath. Perfect on the large bits of bread provided.

Potted salmon

We had around a 10-15 minute wait for our mains & during that time, the turnaround of tables was constant. Surprising for such a small restaurant in an unusual location – I estimate it holds around 30-50 covers. There were only 3 waiting staff who were constantly rushing around yet were attentive, noticing if you needed a drink before you had a chance to ask.

After the disappointment of the stew not being available, I opted for their “award winning” salsiccia & tomato cream lasagne. Now I absolutely love lasagne (no-one can touch my dad’s though!) but this was not a lasagne. What I received instead was basically lasagne sheets with some Italian sausage & bathed in what tasted like a jar of pasta sauce. There was no layering of cheese sauce, meat & pasta. But saying that, it was not unedible, just not what I & most people who like a good lasagne would expect. I would have advertised it more as a pasta bake. The large pieces of garlic sour dough bread that accompanied it were fantastic & I struggled to finish it.

Salsiccia & Tomato cream lasagne

The other main was The Pelican Cafe’s take on fish n chips which compromised of coley, sea bass & king prawns in a real ale batter. I tried one of the prawns & the batter was awful. It was so thick it was reminiscent of chicken balls you get at the chinese. Not the light, crispy beer batter you would associate with fish & chips. The one part about this I did like was the giant hand cut chips that accompanied it. They were very fresh & tasty but you literally needed 3 or 4 on the plate, they are that big!

Fish & Chips

I’d say The Pelican Cafe was a bit of a miss on this occasion due to the choices we made. Given the extensive menu, I’d not rule out returning & trying other dishes given the reasonable pricing of the menu.