Knutsford – It
has your name on it.
So, I had just fathomed the meaning of Est Est Est,
and what do they do? Change the name. At first I shook
my head. We Brits are notoriously resistant to change. But, fearing
narrow-mindedness to be a most unattractive quality, I accepted the
kind invitation of the new management to dine chez eux (sadly my Italian
doesn’t match my French).
You don’t notice much to begin with. Same building, same layout,
new paint… (Is that undercoat, my companion wondered?) But the
differences, or shall we say nuances, become clear once you sit down.
The newly refurbished GUSTO feels like a slicker version
of the old favourite.
atmospheric, still bustling, still sexily-lit.
The staff are flamboyant, (I once described
them, rather prophetically, as wielding their
giant pepper mills con gusto!) the
whole experience theatrical. It’s as
close was we can get to Italian dining without
air travel. So, what’s the story?
Basically, Living Ventures, the restaurant and bar
company who developed The Living Room, has invested
over £5 million in rebranding
the existing Est Est Est restaurants into GUSTO: Italian
for taste and enjoyment.
Wisely, they have kept the staples for which the old place was renowned – plenty
of pasta and pizza, salads and nibbles,
and added some heftier choices – five kinds
of steak and a range of fresh seafood to
rival Loch Fyne. If the choice gets too much there are some well-priced
set menus and a tempting fixed-price lunch (to rival La Belle Époque?)
They’ve extended the con amici menu and installed
a fab new family/friends dining space downstairs. There’s a new
children’s menu (retaining the ever popular make your own pizza)
and even a Baby Deli – 100% organic dining for
those under 10 months – whatever next?! The company philosophy
is ‘to include all members of the family’; with dishes
such as Rosy Posy Pasta I give them a gold star for
effort. Add to this a summer healthy-choice menu, buckets-full of cocktails
and free wi-fi access and GUSTO has something for
I just wanted to sit on the terrace with a
glass of chilled Pinot and
pretend I was in Italy.
I also felt like gathering my friends
and family together to let them know
I love them. Instead, I went home and put some twinkly
lights round my bay tree.
So, if you have a big family or small children,
if you’re watching your weight or your wallet,
if you love seafood or just food, this place has
your name on it.
Or, as they say, live life with GUSTO.
Let it inspire you to try new things, embrace change
and find some Latin spirit.
Girl About Town