Swanky, stylish and scrumptious – three words that sum up the dining experience at Gusto on Manchester’s Lloyd Street. But would you expect anything less from Living Ventures’ newest restaurant?

Garlic Petals at Gusto

From the people who brought you Manchester House, Australasia and The Alchemist comes a new branch of a chain of restaurants with locations spread across the North of England. Bringing a modern twist to the traditional Italian restaurant, Gusto offers customers a menu featuring old favourites and exclusive new dishes.

Situated in a prime spot just off Deansgate where Olive used to be, the setting of the restaurant is modern, bright and sophisticated. A central island bar offers a nice feature, as does the open display kitchen where diners can see the chefs at work. Interestingly, artist Michael J Browne is currently painting a large mural in the style of a Roman fresco, which features some of Manchester’s statues and buildings such as Central Library. When completed, the painting will offer an impressive view to diners as well as a fitting tribute to the beauty of a city that the restaurant calls home.

Dover Sole at GustoThe menu offers up a selection of Italian-based dishes, from meats and seafood to pizza and pasta. For an idea of what to expect, the pizza selection has traditional flavours such as pepperoni and more unusual toppings like slow roast pork, Peking duck or salmon. There’s also a Specials Menu which is expensive but provides a premium dining option with delicacies such as Dover sole, lobster and monkfish, and a more affordable set lunch menu priced at £11.95. The bar offers a large selection of wine and cocktails, and the dessert list is remarkable in itself with creations like Nutella and mascarpone calzone and sweet vanilla risotto.

The food I tried was absolutely gorgeous, and I would certainly recommend this restaurant to friends. For starters I had dough petals served with garlic butter, which are lighter than dough balls, crispy and almost pastry-like in texture. I also sampled the mussels, which were perfectly cooked in the traditional garlic cream sauce and served with toasted ciabatta to mop up the sauce – delicious. I had to try the half bread-crumbed Dover sole for my main as my waitress had strongly encouraged me to sample it – I wasn’t disappointed. Like many high-end restaurants there are no sides with the main course – you must order them separately at about £4 each, but they are worth it. After such a big meal, the ginger panna cotta (heavenly creamy and served with marmalade-flavoured confit clementines) was the perfect light dessert to finish on.

Ginger Panna Cotta at GustoAs it’s a new restaurant there are a few teething problems but nothing too major. There was no bowl for my mussel shells so I had to play a bit of shell Tetris on my plate as I ate, and my dough petals arrived during my starter, but again it’s early days and much can be forgiven.

By Stephanie Alderson


Rating (out of five):

Chef's KnifeChef's KnifeChef's KnifeChef's KnifeChef's Knife


What: Gusto

Where: Lloyd Street, Manchester

When: Mon-Sun, 12pm-12am

More info: http://gustorestaurants.uk.com/restaurants/manchester/