Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh

If you read my blog or my Instagram you’ll know I take brunch pretty seriously. I am obbessed with anything served with avocado, I love eggs all ways and would choose breakfast over lunch every time.

When Gusto, on George Street, launched their brunch menu a month or so ago, complete with a new smoothie and cocktail menu, I was delighted to pop along and check it out along with one of my best girlfriends.  Continue reading “Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh”

Gusto, Edinburgh

Our trip to Gusto was yet another occasion where I was wishing I had a proper camera and not just my phone! I’m sad to say my pictures do not these delicious dishes justice, thus I will just have to be as descriptive as possible.

Having attended the Perrier-Jouet tasting dinner at Gusto on George Street in Edinburgh, when I was asked to review the new menu, it was an easy yes. Gusto is a chain of Italian inspired restaurants you can find in many of the big cities up and down the country. To be specific, the restaurants are “inspired by the traditional grand cafes of Europe, Gusto is all about making the everyday exquisite.” It’s suppose to be ‘everyday decadence’… that’s something I can get on board with.

Edinburgh’s Gusto is located at the Charlotte Square end of George Street. The set up downstairs is a mix of round booths and high bar stool tables. We were taken upstairs to the mezzanine level and sat at a table overlooking the restaurant – a great spot for watching everyone coming and going, for there is a lot of that with it being a fairly large dining space.

Our waiter, very friendly and polite, was straight over with the wine list and menus. Being mid-flat move, Mr. F&P was on the sparkling water as unfortunately we had chores to complete that evening, however I opted for a glass of Novita Trebbiano, correctly described as ‘wonderfully easy drinking’.

I love when waiters or waitresses recommend dishes from the menu, so when I ordered the calamari and our waiter suggested the Fritto Misto instead, it was a no brainer to change my order. What was thinking just going for calamari when I could have with sardine, prawn, calamari, and courgette as well?! I made the right decision. The batter was so incredibly light and nicely peppered, and spiced tomato mayonnaise reminded me of a dip that is served at The Outback in America when you order their famous ‘Bloomin’ Onion’. A joy of a dish to start the evening off.

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto close up

Fritto Misto sauce

Mr F&P tucked into salmon tartare which was served with a soft boiled quails egg (inside the salmon tower – a fun touch) and some crème fraîche and red gazpacho. Another delicious, and very pretty looking, plate of food. 

salmon tartar

salmon tartar plate

And that’s the quails egg, right there in the middle.

quails egg

For my main I ordered the 6oz chargrilled fillet steak, medium, which came with garlic butter, roasted vine tomatoes and fries. The steak was cooked exactly to my liking. What can you say about garlic butter, other than it’s totally delicious, by far by steak sauce of choice. I’m not convinced the chargrilling added much, however certainly it didn’t detract from a very flavoursome, juicy piece of meat. The ‘vine tomatoes’ were just one large vine tomato, but no problem with that, and the fries were lovely and crispy. No need for the dish.

fillet steak plate

steak medium

steak close up

I was less convinced by the pasta dish – white crab, chilli, garlic and fresh lemon spaghetti. Perhaps we eat too much pasta at home and I don’t appreciate it as much when I go out. I also find it fairly easy to make a damn good pasta dish at home, thus when I go out I really expect to be wowed. That said, the spaghetti was fresh, the lemon sauce coated the spaghetti well, not too much, not too little. Just not a patch on my steak, but perhaps I am trying to compare apples and pears.

crab spaghetti

A little break as we surveyed the dessert menu. This is where I struggled… I am fairly confident I would have enjoyed absolutely every dessert listed. This is a dessert menu for chocolate lovers.

dessert menu

I was torn between the nutella and mascarpone calzone and the ‘bombolini’; homemade mini doughnuts with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Thinking I may not have room for something that called itself a ‘calzone’ I chose the mini doughnuts and was rewarded with a really simple, but yummy, dessert. Bizarrely light for pudding of doughnuts, the chocolate sauce had an edge to it which I’m putting down to some sort of liqueur. Again, too many dishes on the plate for my liking, or perhaps a different shape of under plate would work better.

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The star menu was the ‘Baked Flaming Alaska’, served and lit at the table, it glowed purple for a good 30-40 seconds. As you might have guessed by the quails egg inside the salmon tower, I’m fairly easy amused and I thoroughly enjoyed the dramatics.

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On a side note, Baked Alaska is a dessert that never ceases to amazing me, just the science behind it, how does the ice cream stay cold? But let’s not get into that just now…

With the departure of The Living Room from George Street, Gusto will be a good staple haunt for large groups – plenty space and something for everyone on the menu. What I liked most about Gusto is that it did not feel too much like a chain. I’ve yet to visit the one newly opened in Glasgow, but my overall feeling is they take on the character of the buildings they live in, hopefully making each one a tiny bit different.

Make a trip, I promise your dishes will be look more spectacular than the ones captured in this post, and I hope they are just as tasty. For now I’ll weigh up the cost of a new camera and think some more about baked Alaska.

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From Perrier-Jouët, With Love xx

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Valentine’s Day feels like the perfect day to blog about champagne. Associated with celebrations, good news and success, when you are enjoying a glass you should be feeling delightfully happy, or at least that’s what I believe!

Today it’s all about Perrier-Jouët Champagne, tried and tested by myself and Mr. F&P at a fabulously indulgent, five course champagne tasting event we were invited to at Gusto in Edinburgh.  I advise you pour yourself a glass of something fizzy before you delve into this post, because if you don’t feel like one now, you certainly will by the end.

On arrival we we’re taken upstairs to the mezzanine level where there was a gorgeous set up with candles, rose petals, white table cloths and heavy cutlery – we were in for a real treat! Gusto do not typically do fine dining. Downstairs is a relaxed setting with families, friends and couples tucking into wholesome looking Italian dishes. Our firm feeling by the end of the evening was that Gusto should consider doing more fine dining! The food was wonderful, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

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Perrier-Jouët is owned by Pernod Ricard. One of the largest champagnes houses in the world, Perrier-Jouët produce about three millions bottles of champagne a year, and are famous for their stunning glass artwork on the bottles. A little more about the artwork further down.

As we dined, the Perrier-Jouët Brand Ambassador, Jonathan Simms, told us a little bit about a the history of the house and talked us through the individual champagnes we were trying.

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On opening the menu, there was no denying we were in for a five course feast.

Proceedings kicked off with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut and a seared king scallop in a hazelnut butter, with red pepper & spinach. The first glass was good baseline for what was to come, it was light and refreshing, and quite soft to drink.

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The scallop was large, juicy and seared perfectly.

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Jonathan assured us that champagne need not be kept for special occasions, and is very much a drink that can be throughout a meal, and not simply served with canapés. Needless to say this is an idea I can quite happily get on board with.

Next came an incredibly delicious plate of smoked duck carpaccio, with pomegrante and a sweet Marsala reduction, served with a glass of rose – the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rose.

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The sweetness of the rose fizz worked really nicely against the smokey duck – not a dish I had tried before, and definitely one I would opt for in the future. Again, Jonathan dispelled the myth that rose can only be enjoyed in summer time, and typically because of the colour, by females. He also pointed out it is the red grape which gives it it’s colour, hence this particular glass of fizz working with a darker meat such as duck.

Next up we were introduced to the Mumm Cordon Rouge, the official champagne of Formula 1 and another member of the Pernod Ricard family. It was interesting to taste alongside the Perrier-Jouet; this champagne was much heavier, and fuller in flavour. For that reason was paired with a truffle flavoured risotto with white crab meat. Mr. F&P was in heaven!

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We must have both enjoyed the Mumm as it was gone before I could snap!

For our fourth course, they brought out the big guns. We were treated to a glass of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc, poured from the iconic floral bottle. The artwork was born form Art Nouveau moment in the early 1900s, when Emile Galle collaborated with the house to produce their first decorated bottle of fizz. Over the years the bottles and dainty glasses have become collectors items, and the today the Perrier-Jouët house still have a strong affiliation to the art scene, supporting young up and coming artists, sponsoring creative events and to this day crafting beautiful champagnes all in inspired by art and nature.

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The artwork completely encapsulates everything about the brand – champagnes known for their elegance, floral notes and delicate flavour.

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This champagne was served with one of my favourite dishes, a fillet of beef. Cooked medium rare, it melted in the mouth and was served with an artichoke tortellini and carrot puree and a red wine sauce. After swooning over the glass for quite some time, I remember to actually taste it! This esteemed glass of fizz did not taste a sweet as that had gone before. It was much drier and crisper, and to my surprise worked really well with the red wine sauce.

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Finally onto the last course, and glass of Zacapa Rum to finish us off. I must admit that I’m not a fan of dark rum, so I won’t wax lyrical about it, however I could see the sense in serving a vanilla panna cotta with this tipple as the vanilla favours all married quite nicely.

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A well cooked panna cotta, light and full of vanilla, was a lovely end to a decadent five course dinner. I really adored was the poached ginger rhubarb and was intrigued by the chocolate soil… if I weren’t such a chocolate lover I might think it didn’t add much, but I’m always pleased to see some chocolate with a dessert, and it added texture to an otherwise quite soft pudding.

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After some teas and coffees we headed home, full of fizz and feeling extremely happy. The fizz of the night for me was the Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose, but just for glassware, I also fell completely in love with the Belle Epoque Blanc.

If you come across the opportunity to attend a tasting evening with Perrier-Jouet, absolutely sign up there and then. It was such an gorgeous way to spend an evening, and I learned so much about a champagne house I was previously quite unfamiliar with.

As for Gusto, at the moment they are prepping for an opening in Glasgow, and I am definitely keen to return to the restaurant in Edinburgh for a more casual evening of dining. That said, now I know my Perrier-Jouëts, I’ll be turning straight to the champagne list – who said fizz can’t be for casual dining!