Gusto at the Grand

www.misopeckish.comGusto is a rustic Italian restaurant spear headed by Sean Connolly  the owner of The Grill which is also housed in the Sky City Grand Hotel in the former sport of Peter Gordon’s Dine restaurant.  Gusto showcases simple food,with fresh seasonal ingredients.   The dishes here are large which leans itself to be shared amongst friends, family and colleagues.

As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted with an open kitchen and a pasta making station on the right hand side, where you can watch the pasta being kneaded, molded and cut fresh for the restaurant.

A chef’s table is situated in the restaurant’s heart and is available for bookings of 6-8 people, as well as a few seats at the kitchen counter.   There is also a beautiful espresso bar and lounge area at the entrance where you can enjoy a fine coffee or a delicious healthy smoothie.

Gusto serves a breakfast buffet.  For lunch and dinner menu, Gusto offers rustic Italian dishes that are full of flavour and designed to share.  From small, medium and large dishes.

There were several things on the menu which we asked our waiter to explain more indepth what they were such as the sardinian ravioli, fruits of the sea, cured meat selection as part of the antipasto dish.   The service was exceptional, and the staff were extremely knowledgeable of the menu.

Complemenatary breads are sourced from Olaf’s Bakery.   The breads were crusty on the outside with a soft centre, served with Sean Connolly’s own branded extra virgin olive oil which had a nice grassy flavour and a thick semi sweet balsamic vinegar.

Antipasto plate of our cured meats, grissini – proscuitto, lonzino (pork loin), fennel and garlic garlic, bresola –  soft, thinly sliced.

Sardinian Ravioli, Potato, Mint Pecorino, Sage Butter – somewhat quite delicious.  Large rectangular ravioli that looked like Chinese dumplings.

Kingfish Tail Saltimbocca, Sage, Prosciutto –  When it first arrived my draw dropped at the size of the dish, it was enough to feed four adults.   The kingfish tail was wrapped in a number of layers of proscuitto with some random sage leaves in between, with good amounts of small capers dizzled on top and around the fish.

The waiter did a good job  opening up the fish for us.   The fish was nicely cooked – not to dry nor undercooked.   I thought we did a good effort in consuming three quarters of the fish before going into a food induced coma.

We were commenting on the serving size to the waiter, and they stated the sizes vary and we were lucky to get such a large serving.

Peperonata – side dish consisting of baked peppers, onions and eggplant.  The peppers were nice and sweet.  The dish went well with the fish as you needed something to balance the saltiness of the all the proscuitto on the kingfish tail.

Strawberry, Marsala, Semifreddo – nice, rich and creamy at the right temperature that is neither to hard nor to soft.  The strawberries were macerated, which help balance the creaminess of the semifredo (frozen mousse).

Rum Baba –  delivered on a plate whole.  the waitress then  cut it in half and poured a generous amount of rum over the both halfs of the rum baba then provided a huge dollop of heavy vanilla cream.  My first impressions of the rum baba was that it looked like a brioche.  It was quite a heavy dessert, if Plus 1 did not help to eat half, I do not think I would have managed to finish it off.

Pannacotta –  Light and creamy but not heavy drizzled with fresh wild raspberries, passionfruit and pinenuts.  I am not generally a fan of pannacotta, but thought it was passable.  Plus 1 thought it was delicious and light and is one of his favourte desserts.

Macha Smoothie – Made with dates, cacao nibs, maca, coconut was simply delicious!  At $10 a pop, these are definitely not the cheapest smoothies you can purchase, but defintely delicious and healthy.  The smoothie was a cross between a gritty version of ice coffee and ice chocolate.  The sweetness from the dates, to the bitter cocoa nibs and the grit from the shredded coconut gave the smoothie an interesting flavour and texture.

Coffee – Flat White was nice and strong, as you would expect a good coffee to be.  Brewed at the right temperature.

I thoroughly enjoyed our meal and am happy to come back in the near future to try more of their pastas and healthy smoothies.  Service was excellent.  Food was well seasoned and the menu had a good selection to cater for all tastebuds.

Location:  Lobby of the SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 90 Federal Street, Auckland

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