Gusto, Colmore Row

We were going on a bear hunt. We weren’t scared. Just in need of sustenance. In the heart of Big Sleuth territory – see page 16 if you’re confused – Gusto obliged.

Turns out Saturday afternoon’s a pretty lively affair at the Colmore Row Italian and we were lucky to bag a table for five. The décor’s great with super lighting and we found ourselves a cracking corner table surrounded by ladies with piles of shopping bags – a testament to the city’s burgeoning retail scene if ever there was one.

Lunch started well with a glass of Champagne for the grown-ups and Tutti Frutti mocktails for the little people. A meat board to share included delicious prosciutto ham, salami, soppressa and coppa with a pot of houmous, olives and warm comforting focaccia. Bruschetta was a dream with bags of basil and tangy toms.

The kids were given a sad-looking bowl of carrots to chomp on and a menu to colour in. I feel they may have outgrown this sort of thing. The dough ‘petals’ (aka dough balls) “weren’t as good as Pizza Express” apparently, though the garlic butter was super. Butter, garlic – what’s not to love?

Next, pork belly with a top notch mash and rich sauce was a winner and easily the stand-out dish. The lasagne didn’t go down too well and a word to the wise, where there’s a small option go for it. Even those are pretty large. A smoked haddock risotto with peas and a poached egg was okay although it didn’t have any peas at all which meant it was all a bit beige. The poached egg was perfect mind you. Again it was way too big though.

The kids had smaller versions of the main menu. The meatballs were excellent with a really tasty tomato sauce and the margherita pizza got a double thumbs up. High praise indeed! A side of truffle fries for the table were crisp, moreish and er… truffley.

All-in-all we had a really enjoyable lunch that was more about the atmosphere and company rather than the food. It’s somewhere we’d go again without a doubt, but we reckon the simpler the dish the better.

Gusto:Unit 10, The Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BS. Tel: 0121 200 2400