Auckland: Gusto at the Grand

I have some wonderful friends and last weekend, they took the time to celebrated my birthday with an amazing dinner at Gusto at the Grand. An Italian restaurant on Federal Street and part of the Sky City Grand Hotel, Gusto serves rustic Italian cuisine that is elegantly simple with classic flavours and fresh ingredients.

The menu designed by Sean Connolly is made for sharing and is divided into small, medium and larger dishes. With plenty of vegetarian options and variety, we order a few medium and larger dishes to share between a group of five.

The Orgy of Mushrooms with potato gnocchi. An interesting name which perfectly describes our first dish as it was packed with assorted mushrooms. The soft potato gnocchi had a light and airy texture and everything was combined with a buttery mushroom sauce. The linguine with ‘Fruits of the Sea’ was our second pasta dish. Al-dente linguine cooked in a tangy tomato sauce with mussels, clams, prawns, fish and calamari, this pasta dish was well-received by us.

From the larger dishes selection, we ordered the hapuka tail saltimbocca and the crumbed veal cutlet. The hapuka tail was first prepared by wrapping with thin slices of salty prosciutto and then pan fried. The prosciutto kept the fish moist and tender inside and we garnished it with freshly squeeze lemon juice and a caper oil concoction which have a fragrant aroma that went very well with the fish.

The lightly crumbed veal cutlet was tender and cooked just a touch over medium rare. Delicious flavours with a melt in your mouth texture. However, it could be dramatically improved with a side of sauce which would have increased the moisture of the dish. Our sides of duck fat roasted potatoes and brocollini kept our meal balanced with starch and greens.

We finished our meal with one of the best desserts I’ve tried and that was Gusto’s hazelnut semifreddo with a gooey salted caramel centre. A creamy hazelnut semifreddo coated with crushed hazelnut, this was spectacular and I would come back just to have another plate of this!

I’ve been wanting to try Gusto since it opened and I was pleased that I got to share this meal with some of my dearest friends. The luxurious dining area is open and spacious, creating a lively atmosphere and I was very intrigued by the thoughtful things around the restaurant which included a giant wheel of cheese, the colossal artwork of an octopus near the ceiling and the gorgeous water glasses made from the bottom of wine bottles!

Gusto at the Grand | Location: Sky City Grand Hotel, 90 Federal Street, Auckland CBD | Italian

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