Gusto is the current guise of the Italian chain formerly known as Est Est Est, and is really rather disappointing, particularly as Est Est Est had improved no end in the months leading up to its disappearance. The menu remains pretty much the same, and the venue still has the same buzzy feel, with friendly staff and a great view into the kitchen area with its traditional wood oven. However, the food all arrived suspiciously quickly, and my starter of calamari was on the greasy side as well as being pretty chewy.
Main course was better: risotto served with prawns, mussels and yet more calamari was well flavoured with saffron and of a satisfyingly gloopy consistency to bring comfort on a dismally wet night. The dish was mussel-heavy, however, with few prawns in evidence, and the portion was far too large for such a rich dish. My husband's Diavolo pizza disappeared quickly and with no complaints other than it caused him to get flour on his wine glass.
The wine list is the real disappointment. All the Italian reds on offer seem over-priced; indeed, the £13 Syrah blend we went for was the only sub-£15 red on the menu.
All in all, OK but not great: next time I'll go to Felicini's, just across the road.
- Gusto is at 756 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DW, tel. 0161 445 8209.