02 April 2010

Gusto da Gianni - Brisbane Portside

Today – one of those mortifying things that you usually only read about – happened to me.

Whilst I am not under any misconceptions that I have put on weight, and need to put some effort in to shift it – this has really only accelerated my plans to go on a diet.

A work acquaintance who I haven’t seen for about 6 months greeted me by placing his hand on my stomach and saying “What a special time for you – you must be so excited”. Before giving it a little rub and walking away with a big smile on his face.

Although there was a brief glimmer of hope that he somehow heard my tummy rumbling from the other side of the car park and assumed that my “Special Time” might be lunch – there was no mistake. He (wrongly!) thought I was pregnant.

In that split second that you have, in moments like these, to correct someone – I let it pass – as I wasn’t quite sure how to do that.

“No sorry, no bun in the oven – just lots of chocolate”?
“Oh – no I’m not pregnant – just fat – but thanks for noticing”?

But fatty faux pas’s aside – lunch at Gusto da Gianni was so much better than I expected. The highlight of the meal for me – was the selection of entrees that we had laid out to share. And of these starters – my absolute favourite was the Avocado, Tomato and Mozzarella with Grissini.

What was the magical ingredient? Without sounding like some kind of Tree-Hugging Hippy - I would have to say "love".

The Tomato was perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy. The avocado deliciously creamy with a gorgeous lemon flavour and the Mozzarella was easily the best I have ever had. Milky, sweet and with a phenomenal melting texture. The quality of these ingrediants really only comes with a producer lovingly tending to it. There was nothing else on the plate besides these simply perfect ingredients and it shone. I would go back just to have this again – and yes, I am aware I could make it at home!

The pizza was fantastic! The base perfectly thin and crispy, with the toppings flavoursome but scarce.  We had a Margerita and Pork & Fennel Sausage.

Garlic prawns come out in their own little pot – bubbling away seductively sans cream and all the more tasty for it. With just a hint of unexpected chilli – the dish just cries out for some crusty bread to mop up all the juices.

The main course caused a division amongst the ranks – Rare Beef and Veal Chops with Mushrooms.

The beef was much too rare for my liking – but I do like my meat medium well - so take that as you will. I trimmed off the blackened edges and watched non-plussed as MIL stole the remainder from my plate. While the blood was decidely offputting for me - I have to conceed that this was once a very happy Cow, and very skillfully cooked - what little I had was wonderful.

The veal was sublime. Meltingly tender, perfectly pink and with a delcious scattering of mushrooms finishing it off.

Dessert was not a winner for me – and I was too late to get a photo before it was demolished – but it was some kind of Pannetone with House Made Ice Cream. I have never been a fan of Pannettone – it always tastes dry to me – and maybe that’s the way it’s meant to taste – but I just don’t like it.

It wasn't a total loss though - because Portside is also the home to my favourite Ice Cream... Movenpick... enough said.

The Verdict: Great food cooked simply. There is no showing off – the ingredients really do speak for themselves. The service was great – the ambience was relaxing and I was glad I got an outside facing seat as I love people watching.

Recommendations: I could not fault their pizzas – although if you are a Pizza Chain lover – you won’t like these. Thin and crispy bases only, with simple and sparing ingredients – it’s all about appreciating flavours. My absolute pick of the day was the Mozzarella with Avocado and Tomato – I have emailed them to ask them where they get their Mozzarella from but no reply… *sigh*

Contact: Gusto da Gianni   

Gusto Da Gianni on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh dear! What can you say when faced with a congratulatory comment as that? Mind you, should I be pregnant I still wouldn't want people coming up to me feeling like they can freely feel my belly!

  2. Oh no! Horrors! But I was a bit shocked when you indicated that said colleague was male! Now that is doubly horrid! How dare he??? And I once had an older woman offer me her bus seat because I was pregnant when I was not! And I think so many of us have put on extra weight thanks to our food blogs! The curse!

    This lunch looks extraordinary! It all looks so delicious even the meat (I like mine red!)

  3. I know exactly what you mean. Last year while taking the subway train in Singapore with hub, a guy gave me a signal to take his seat. I had to gently and firmly refused his kind gesture. At first I was surprised, then it dawned to me that he thought I was pregnant (yes, my left over pregnant fats of 3 yrs ago). At that moment, hub's eyes and mine met and we don't know whether to laugh or cringe in embarrassment. After that, I make sure I stand straight and suck up my tummy a bit. LOL!

    Love your prawns & steak - looks heavenly delicious.

  4. Oh my god Joy! Why do people do that? Don't they know how awful it is when they get it wrong?

    I agree with the quality of ingredients, particularly for simple dishes with only a few ingredients-it's vital :)

  5. Hmm!! Best not to say anything than to get it wrong. The foods are mouth watering! I love movenpack ice cream too!

  6. oh no! I had the same thing happen to me and she kept INSISTING I was pregnant because she knew pregnant women ...

    On another note I will definitely give Gianni's a go. I always see it when we go to Portside but for some reason we always pass it over.

  7. Nice way of presenting the prawns. Keeps them warm too.

    You didn't send the steak back to be cooked more? Or say when you order it - that way it's a win win situation.

  8. Thank you ladies for all your kind words! lol

    Sorry James - I should have been more clear - we had our Mains "Family Style" and the boss ordered the Steak Rare... not my scene at all but I was definately in the minority!

    The veal however was perfectly cooked (for me!) and made up for missing out on the beef! :)

  9. yeah I hate it when people rub my belly and ask my when i'm due also!!!! I just ask "can I borrow your brain - I'm building an Idiot!"

  10. AnonymousJuly 11, 2010

    I've had THAT comment too! Cringe.

    Gusto is one of my favourites. Totally worth the food belly!