We all like a bargain when we see one. January tends to shout out a few more than usual as an antidote to the ravenous Christmas binge. A mindful soul had the good sense to order seven place settings on a round table for a busy Friday lunch at the recently opened Gusto on Lloyd Street in Manchester. Ostensibly Italian, we pre-booked on a deal. If you book during January for slots outside the busy weekend, you bag your grub for half price. As it is set approximately thirty paces from the office it was the work of a moment to get down there. Good job really as it was absolutely tipping down!
It’s an impressive place. An understated entrance from the street gives way to elegance personified. A grandiose, central, square canopy delineates the bar area. Padded stools line up all round in readiness for the cocktail crowd. Our table was up on a side mezzanine which was filling up nicely with business clients and lunching ladies. Chairs in orange and green with matching dark wood tables, crisp linen and sparkling tableware sets the scene. We settled whilst a bright, uniformed, smiling waitress brought us a sobering dash of water and the odd ‘full cooking’ coke. The days of a long, lazy, boozy lunch are sadly long gone for us flashing young interior types!
As an added point of interest we were sat next to a roped off bit. Inside a clearly talented young cove was delicately touching up some cobbles with a long brush. He was quietly fettling the ‘Coronation Street’ section of a huge Manchester scape that was morphing before our eyes. It was only in sketch form with a few splashes of colour, but it will be an impressive adornment to the Gusto legacy sometime soon.
We were presented with two menus, the specials and the a la carte. It was sometime before we ordered food and as it was a quick lunch we all simply ordered a main course each with the odd side from the a la carte which is the one that attracted the discount. As the crowds were gathering for the bargain lunch, it was a fairly lengthy stretch before the goodies arrived. But boy they were goodies. Everyone was pleased with their offer.
Pick of the bunch was Dom’s seared tuna steak marinated in balsamic and soy with a fennel and orange salad and green gazpacho (£18.95). Cooked to perfection, a rare centre with a seared outer.
Paul’s Baked fillet of seabass (£17.95) with roasted pepperonata, drizzled with lemon purée looked a picture as did Mel’s salad of home-cured salmon, shaved fennel, orange, radish and radicchio with a crème fraiche dressing (£10.95). They all hit the mark. I myself (as a crab addict) had the white crab, chilli, garlic and fresh lemon spaghetti (£15.95).
We all concluded that it was a fine feed and a stunning location. Once we’d finished taking pictures of the interior! we coppered up and went on our way. Including a take out there was eight of us. With the 50% deal in place the bill came to £70. Less than a tenner each. Given the surroundings and the quality I would have happily paid the full price. Give it a try.
4 Lloyd Street
T: 0161 832 2866