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