There’s nothing I like more than an epic Sunday lunch. Sundays for most are one of those ‘blue’ days where the growing hum of Monday causes what we so often call the Sunday dread. However, always one to go against the norm, for me, Sunday’s have always been one of my favourite days of the week – emulating family, rest and more importantly, hearty food.
Heading down the A20 from northwest Kent, we watched as the busy monotonous motorways turned into winding country roads as we approached Chislehurst, south east London. We were on the hunt for Gusto, an Italian inspired relaxed dining experience. With this visit being our first to a Gusto restaurant, we were expecting a large gastro-pub type appearance however were pleasantly surprised to see its quaint appearance sitting comfortably on the quiet high street. Appearing small from the outside with gorgeously placed greenery, outside lights and pretty bistro tables, on entering, opened up to a relatively large and light space.
Taking inspiration from the modern interior trends of today, the bar is equipped with gold industrial style shelves and a large (but unimposing) tree with fairy lights bought healthy notes of green in to the mix. Tables are a mixture of tall with stools, cubicle benches and large long tables to cater to the bigger groups. We sat on a tall table by the bar which was light, airy and relatively quiet. The restaurant had a busy trade with large family groups enjoying birthday celebrations, friends catching up over a drink or two and smaller families embracing Sunday indulgence. This gave the restaurant a pleasant, friendly and buzzy vibe. The Gusto staff were incredibly welcoming, friendly and accommodating from the moment we walked through the door and there wasn’t a moment that felt rushed.
The menu at Gusto Chislehurst is extensive with a large selection of starters and mains. We were also presented with a Sunday menu which was reasonably priced at £19.95 for three courses. With inspiration taken from Italy, the Sunday menu had a well-curated and interesting take on the traditional Sunday lunch and plenty of choice across the main menu.
We chose the enjoy a Calamari starter which had a light tempura like batter taking that usual greasy feel out of the dish. This went down a hit. As did the Spring Pea and Mint Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche. This was light, yet still had the indulgent feel that I so enjoy when it comes to soup. The warm baked Focaccia was also the perfect complementing addition.
For a main dish, I chose the Gusto take on a traditional Sunday lunch, enjoying grilled sirloin, roast potatoes and red wine ju. Cooked to perfection the beef was tender and the red wine jus was just the right amount of rich. My partner decided to go for a lighter sea bass, which was a healthy, fresh alternative. We did make the mistake of not ordering a side dish (so do make sure you do this if you order sea bass!). Our meal finished with a rich Sticky Toffee Pudding and Banoffee Pie.
Gusto Chislehurst has absolutely been added to our list of restaurants to take the family – fresh interiors, delicious food and a friendly and relaxed vibe.