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Vanessa finds the Est, Est, Est reinvention in Didsbury doesn’t live up to its name

Published on November 22nd 2007.


The problem with religion isn’t religion itself, or the bible, or even the big man in the sky. No. The fundamental error with religion is those who spread the gospel word by adding their own little embellishment on top.

It’s somewhat like Italian cuisine in Britain. It’s translated, interpreted, re-interpreted until what you are actually served up is something so far removed from its origins, it may as well be Nepalese not Neopolitan.

But it’s like asking Cate Blanchett to deliver the script to Cat Woman and expecting a golden globe. I almost feel sad that the product let Charlotte down so devastatingly.

Now, I’m not suggesting for one second that Italian restaurant Gusto in Didsbury is corrupt unless it’s operated by the mafia, in which case, I expect to wake up next to a horse’s head by morning. But their free-styling where food is concerned really ought to be reined in.

The layout of the restaurant itself isn’t half bad, multi-levelled and New York-style with exposed brick and dark wood furnishings, with a troop of approximately 15 waiting on staff manning their individuals sections. If there were an award for customer service, there’s no question that they would come up trumps. Our waitress Charlotte brought a whole new meaning to multi-tasking. She would have balanced dishes on her head, if the situation required.

But it’s like asking Cate Blanchett to deliver the script to Cat Woman and expecting a Golden Globe. I almost feel sad that the product let Charlotte down so devastatingly.

The goats cheese salad with beetroot and mixed green leaves with balsamic vinegar (£4.95) was pleasant enough but scatty and a tad confused as to whether it was a goats cheese salad or beetroot. Having said that it was probably the biggest hit of the evening – and if a salad comes out on top, then you really are in trouble.

The texture and flavour of the king prawns and garlic in a tomato and cream sauce (£6.95) was perfect consistency for a main course pasta dish. But it’s totally unsuitable for a starter – far too heavy - sickly after three mouthfuls and the prawns are swamped to the point that you’re fishing in lava.

The car-crash of a main followed with grilled organic salmon, crushed potatoes, olives and sun-dried tomato mash (£14.95) was interesting. It seemed to have missed out the word ‘raw’ before the word ‘potato’. The salmon was tough and overcooked and the mash looked liked a Christmas pudding although it was nothing to celebrate with its random and unnecessary sun-dried tomato and olive additions.

The service of the wine, a bottle of Klein Zalze Chenin Blanc (£16.50) was the only area of service at fault. Waiters filling up your wine glass without permission is a shameless way of getting you legless and carefree with your spending. I want to savour my wine, I don’t want it funnel fed to me like a duck bred for fois gras.

Under normal circumstances, I would have asked for the bill after the main but for reviewing purposes we had to persevere with dessert and the sweet banoffee calzone with vanilla ice cream (£4.95). Sounds dreamy but it was reminiscent of my childhood night terrors. Charlotte informed us it would take about 15 minutes to arrive but it turned up in two. What’s wrong with that? You may wonder. Well from a cynic’s point of view it’s got microwave written all over it. Calzone is pizza bread moulded into a shape similar to the Cornish pasty, it needs to be oven cooked, if not it’s squidgy and as unpleasant as the banana and toffee mess that sits inside it.

At times like this, when you glance round a heaving restaurant full of families and large groups having a thoroughly good knees-up, you do ask yourself the question “Is it just us?” I suspect the answer is yes, but I also would hazard a guess that we were the only ones who weren’t going home with an extortionate drinks bill.

Breakdown:4/10 Food
3/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Gusto
756 Wilmslow Road
M20 2DW
M1 1JF
0161 445 8209
Gusto website
Mon - Sun: 11am – 23pm

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

ANovember 22nd 2007.

GUSTO is the best restaurant in Didsbury.I eat there every weekend and never had a bad experience, staff are really friendly. "GUSTO" all the way

Tricky DickyNovember 22nd 2007.

Try the Gusto in Heswall, Wirral absolutely appalling servie and very poor food rushed and expensive for what you get bring back Est Est at least it was average.

JohnNovember 22nd 2007.

Always had a great time at EST been in GUSTO, Didsbury once since it's changed-it was brilliant, my steak was cooked exactally how I'd ordered it. Now that is rare...

chargNovember 22nd 2007.

I ate at the new GUSTO in Didsbury a few weeks ago. I was not impressed; the food was cold and bland (I too had the prawns and found them very sloppy!). It was a good job I used my High-Life card or I would have ended up paying a high price for a low quality meal.

andyNovember 22nd 2007.

This restaurant is a joke.Top prices for complete incompetence - they couldnt even get the melon edible.The funniest was sea bass baked in salt when they left all the salt on the plate.They should stick to pizzas.

charlie jonesNovember 22nd 2007.

all fur coat and no knickers. a trick played by many manchester restaurants. you may arrive with gusto but you'll leave with indigestion.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2007.

I work for Gusto In Didsbury on the bar and can honestly say from working in other bars and restaurant's that the service everyone offers to it's customers is second to none! Our training is extremely intense, and we are trained to be the best...Simple as. The bar team provide a fast, friendly service often serving drinks PERFECTLY to diners tables in under 3 minutes!! If you have really visited Gusto, you will understand how busy it gets, especially on a weekend night...I would like to see, in fact I would challenge anyone who puts myself or my fellow bar team down to do a better job then we do...Please feel free to come in and ask, we shall provide!As for quality of food...I think the fact that Gusto Didsbury has been rated a 'Top Table' by 'http://www.toptable.co.uk' 3 YEARS ON THE TROT speaks for itself really. Out of the Manchester restaurants we were rated 8.3/10, the top score recieved for a Manchester restaurant this year being 8.5/10... We can't be that bad! (www.toptable.co.uk/venues/restaurants/?id=6862…)If you are expecting McDonalds quality food and service go to McDonalds... If you want a good meal for a FAIR price, due to the majority of our ingredients being local to the area, organic or free range.. come to GUSTO!

PixieNovember 22nd 2007.

I totally disagree, I've dined in GUSTO a couple of times since it's been re-branded and had a fantastic experience. The service has always been outstanding even as EST EST EST. The seabass is lovely!

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2007.

Gusto talks the talks, luring diners in through its slick decor and funky branding but peel back the layers and it's just another very average (and pricey) high street eatery. Surely there’s someone out there who can do better!

GinaNovember 22nd 2007.

I am a resident in Didsbury and was amazed at the transformation that took place when it converted from EST to GUSTO. I am one of those who are banned to smoke outside and GUSTO staff have really made me and my friends/family still feel welcome. The outside area is warm and cosy wether it be for great food or fabulous cocktails. I reccommend the house speciality "Mucho Gusto". This is definately my local choice!!!!

BecksNovember 22nd 2007.

I have been to the Gusto in Knutsford several times and have enjoyed it on each occassion.I think the secret to places like this is don't choose the exotic options - go for the pizzas, they're really delicious!

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