Gusto at the Grand (Auckland City, New Zealand)
“Historically Italian Food is made to be shared. This continues at Gusto at the Grand”, this is what’s written on the top of the menu at Gusto at the Grand and that’s what we did during one of the lunches we had in there, sharing a plate of many wonderful dishes this amazing place had offered.
Today I will take a different approach on this post, instead of generalizing all of the dishes in one, let’s take some time to explain my experience on each dish we tried because they all deserve a good attention as each one of them was perfectly prepared. So we started with a couple simple Garlic Rosemary Pizzetta ($8.00) matched with a couple of Housemade Ricotta with Honey and Pine Nuts ($14.00). Such a simple and lovely dish combination that arrived surprisingly in a pizza box, freshly made pizza bread topped with caramelized garlic and rosemary over a thin chewy crust. Wonderful flavours, garlic is not too overpowering just right to give it good flavours, perfectly salted then it is enhanced by dipping it in a tasty ricotta infused with honey and pine nuts. Ricotta was done really well with mild pleasant flavours unlike the usual ricotta that usually is tasteless.
Next dish we had was this Braised Baby Squid in Tomato and Chilli topped with Parsley Crumb ($24.00), another delicate dish with a lovely sauce of spiced tomatoes, squid is cooked to perfection, very tender and the sauce inside the squid pockets is a delight, topped with tasty garlicky parsley crumb to give a nice contrasting texture.
Cloudy Bay Clams Spaghetti served with Garlic Chilli “poor man’s” Parmesan ($29.00), if this is a poor man’s dish then I want to be poor, that alone says a lot about this dish. Perfect choice of clams, it perfectly represents the ocean flavour, very tasty even if it looks so simple. Plump clams, garlic and perhaps butter what can go wrong, another brilliant dish.
Orgy of Mushrooms and Clevedon Buffalo Ricotta Gnocchi ($34.00), funny and catchy name hence we ordered one, plus I love mushrooms. A personal favourite with mixture of earthy flavours and delicate gnocchi, it’s what my dreams are made of. Clean mushroom flavours plus a surprising texture from the gnocchi, soft and pillow burst of flavour, definitely nowhere near to any gnocchi texture I ever tried, all gnocchi should be made like this.
King Prawns Saltimbocca with Lemon Aioli ($44.00), now this is called cheating if bacon, mayonnaise and chocolate is used to make every dish and dessert respectively nice then Prawns in this proportion should be included in the list. This is a legit King Prawn, somewhere between 12 to 15 cm in size, you can get more meat on this compared to some other lobsters. Again this was perfectly cooked, I loved the crispy bits as well where some parts of it was toasted, good flavour.
Crispy Skin Free Range Pork Belly served with Caponata ($38.00), if you think the Chinese can make a perfect Crispy Pork Belly, hold that though until you tried this. It’s on a different ballgame, melting fat under a thin crispy skin with meat that melts in your mouth, it’s an epic dish. Mix that with some acidity from the caponata and floral herb flavour of the basil, it’s a food made for the Gods.
Cavolo Nero with Garlic, Chilli and Anchovy ($10.00), yes even vegetables here taste good too with a simple concoction of Garlic, Chilli and Anchovy to spice this blanched Cavolo Nero this greens turn into a magical healthy plate that you would love munching on.
Duck Fat Roast Potatoes served with Rock Salt Rosemary ($10.00), once you tried these roast potatoes you will never go back, this is how a potato should be roasted others should be declared illegal. Its crispy outside and so fluffy inside definitely 100x more addictive than any roast potatoes out there or even chips/fries.
Melina’s Chocolate Almond Torta, Chantilly Cream, Drunken Strawberries ($15.00), the only dish not shared and definitely I will not be sharing a delicious dessert like this. Surely good quality cocoa was used in making the, the bitter sweet moist cake is a pleasure to the palate, it is then balanced by a mix of a light fluffy mildly sweet cream and slightly bitter sweet tangy strawberries. The strawberry drippings are the perfect sauce to soak that already most torte.
Central Otago Maude Pinot Noir 15 ($18.00), my drink of choice while indulging on all of those amazing dishes above. Its silky, its complex, nearly similar to Burgundy with sweet dark fruit hints, easy drinking that smells like a dark cherry with truffles. It went really well with the pork and the duck fat potatoes.
Great Food, Great Experience, do I need to say more, the food tells it all.
Gusto at the Grand
Address: 90 Federal St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 363 7030