It has been remarked upon many, many times over the years how extraordinarily brave I am in the face of illness. And as I always, always get a cold when I go back to work (must be all that sudden exposure to teenagers), I am currently suffering with great fortitude and humility.
*calls feebly to husband for cup of tea and box of tissues*
*oh, and the remote control as well please*
So brave am I, in fact, that I was able to go out for dinner last night. I have acquired some kind of membership card for Gusto, the estimable Italian restaurant in Didsbury Village, and hadn't got round to using it until yesterday. It appears that if you book your table online (www.gustorestaurants.uk.com), you get 20% off your food bill (even on a weekend), and if I book online only another 247 times (or something) I am also entitled to a bottle of champagne.
Being slightly early for our reservation (timings affected by having to dodge showers on way into Didsbury), we decided to stop off for a drink; my husband wanted to go to The Milson Rhodes, and being really very ill indeed (although I have not really alluded to it, I have a serious cold) I lacked the strength to resist. Being a Saturday night in a Wetherspoons, the drinks were cheap, the pub was noisy, and a man was wearing a pink tutu and a rainbow-coloured wig. We drank up and left.
Gusto was equally busy, and we found ourselves seated at a table between the golden triangle of toilets, open-kitchen with fierce wood-burning oven, and large hen party complete with balloons and devil horns. We didn't mind actually, and the service is always attentive in Gusto no matter how busy it is, so were soon drinking medicinal red wine and eating garlic and tomato pizza bread.
My husband reckons he has found the perfect meal in Gusto, and staunchly refuses to deviate from it; thus, he gave the menu a purely cursory glance before ordering calamari followed by Diavola pizza. This pizza is far too hot for me, so I had spaghetti vongole with white wine butter (although, never one to learn a valuable lesson, I did as always try a piece of the scary pizza. It did, as always, make me cry a little.)
We resisted the dessert menu, paid our reasonably-priced bill (only the wine seemed a bit steep - surely Italian restaurants are meant to sell carafes of cheap and cheerful house red? Perhaps with a grass skirt?) and came home for a cheeky calvados to wash down the bed-time decongestants (did I mention? I am unwell.) Gusto is not the most exciting or traditional of restaurants, but the food is reliably good and the atmosphere is always lively; any other poorly but brave souls out there could do a lot worse.
- Gusto is at 756 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DW, tel 0161 445 8209.