A week after opening and there are still a few 'bugs' on the floor to sort out but the food lives up to Gianni's well deserved reputation for high quality cuisine.
Located in the position previously occupied by Aquilina at Portside, Gusto takes a large corner swipe of the complex with several different eating areas. Outside at the front there are larger square tables with an indoor/outdoor ambience. Inside the tables are mixed, ranging between small round marble discs that barely fit the plates, to a huge round table with an eccentric chandelier made from multiple desk lamps, surrounded by smart perspex chairs.
The décor is rustic and provincial with a smattering of city chic. There's a cosy couch area, a tapas bar and more to the seemingly endless choices. The large open spaces and concrete floors make for a noisy dining experience, especially when your neighbours are a group of rowdy children enjoying a birthday party.
The menu proclaims Gusto has a menu spiced with dishes from the origins of Italy and Spain's best and it certainly reads well. The ordering system is a little like Macca's where you line up at the counter, order and pay for your meal. It works well except for one flaw. Your table number is embedded into the table and we came back to our table after ordering to find ours had completely disappeared! After a moment's confusion, we were able to redirect our meals to a new table number without a hitch.
Our meal choices were crisp zucchini flowers stuffed with delicious goats cheese with a hint of lemon and pork skewers which were too dry and chewy. The skewers came on a interesting mix called mojo potatoes which seemed to include green capsicum with a touch of chili – a great flavour combination.
From the pizza menu we chose a thin base Napolatana, which included a nice mix of anchovies, capers and black olives. It was the real thing and totally delicious.
Gusto is well placed to service many dining needs, from pre or post movie dining to special occasions at the large table. The bar area will no doubt attract a large crowd who will enjoy the tapas selection and pizza range. I'll have to wait until another day, and another dinner, to report on other mains dining options.
Gusto de Gianni's, Portside, Hamilton