I’ve been settled with my other half for more than ten years now. Back when we got together meeting someone was still based around mates introducing you or getting sufficiently tipsy in a pub/club that talking to a total stranger didn’t bring you out in a panic attack. Now it’s all online dating which means keeping up your social media presence and updating app profiles. Frankly I’d rather just put up with his annoying habits than have to face the horror of having to Instagram, my lack of thigh gap or my sagging bum!
Blogging has evolved too in the couple of years I’ve been off the scene. Even when I started I didn’t really mean to write a blog , I was just trying to store recipes. Food blogs happened and I sort of surfed the wave, until my kids forced me to take a break.
I thought blogging had kind of died, just about everyone was instagramming their avocado toast now and anyone you had to multi-channel it with You Tube videos and tweets.
But I had an invite to review a restaurant and since bloggers are invited in packs by PR companies, it seemed a nice chance to check out what’s changed in the blogging world.
The restaurant, Gusto, is also only 10 minutes walk from my house, near the entrance to the kids playground I spend more than half my life in. So over the last few months I have been watching the million pound revamp.
Looks like the money was well spent, the interior is beautiful lots of light, glass and shine without feeling cold. The ceiling covered in olive branches wrapped with fairy lights, they have added a covered heated patio and preserved the 30ft monkey tree on the open patio, complemented by the whole olive tree inside.
I arrived a little delayed by Storm Doris and a little windswept. Quickly cheered when the Best Waiter in the World Ever said, “What can I get you, a large glass of wine?”
The lovely Malbec, a great choice from a substantial wine list, was perfect for reading the menu and chatting with some other food bloggers, all lovely , suitably obsessed with food and better equipped than me with digital SLR. It never stops being weird seeing people photograph their food. I know hypocritical aren’t I.
Gusto is an Italian Chain with restaurants in the North and Midlands, the menu featured pasta, risotto, pizza as well as meaty and fishy mains. I think everyone could find something to eat.
The Best Waiter in the World had stiff competition despite the restaurant being packed the staff were all friendly , efficient and definitely knew their stuff. Training for opening has gone well and service was amazing.
For my starter I had smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade and tomato -caper dressing. Plenty of smoked salmon and a lovely treat not to lose 90% of my smoked salmon to the kids, the remoulade was a bit creamy needed more of a acid, maybe more dressing
My main course was a pork fillet ‘saltimbocca’ wrapped in Tuscan Ham with a masala gravy. Saltimbocca means dances on your tongue and is usually made with veal. But this was nice the pork was perfectly cooked, sticky gravy and creamy mash shame there were really any nice seasonal veg on the menu would have gone for a bit of kale. The vegetables on the menu were all a bit messed around with battered courgette, a waste of currently rationed courgettes) or creamed spinach.
After two courses I was pretty full, but I did manage some delicious lemon sorbet , a great way to end a lovely meal.
As I was leaving I was taking a picture of the monkey tree, wrapped in is fairy lights and I got talking to some guys who were on a date. They were about to eat dinner after a few drinks at the bar. This gave me another reason to stay with my other half, sure I could have romantic dates at beautiful restaurants like Gusto, but imagine having to eat at 9.30pm!
As for the blogging world, it seems not too much has changed, you are still supposed to take photos of the food, which I managed not to do. So I guess I will have to drag the family in for a visit , certainly plenty of families were enjoying a Sunday lunch as we walked past on our way to the playground again!