Now that’s amore

SPE­CIALS NIGHT OUT: At Gusto in Hull, Dave Lee dis­cov­ers that great Ital­ian cook­ing runs in the fam­ily. Just don’t men­tion that aper­i­tif.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

NE of the most pop­u­lar Ital­ian restaurants in Hull over the last cou­ple of decades was La Perla on New­land Av­enue. It served the usual mix of pasta, piz­zas, carne and pesce with a touch of flair and a twist of pep­per from an over-sized grinder.

Over its fi­nal few years it started to feel a lit­tle dated and in need of a bit of a re­jig. This was prob­a­bly be­cause owner Gian­franco Redolfi’s at­ten­tions were fo­cused round the cor­ner at Da Gianni, his new (slightly-trendier) restau­rant on Princes Av­enue.

I visit Da Gianni a lot; partly be­cause I like the un­hur­ried in­sou­ciance of the wait­ing staff, but mainly be­cause they make the best piz­zas in the whole of East York­shire.

Da Gianni is a joint ven­ture be­tween Gian­franco and his son Gian­paul and when Redolfi Snr de­cided last year to call time on La Perla, it was Redolfi Jnr who brought in busi­ness part­ner Alex Stothard and set out to re­fit, remix and re­open his dad’s restau­rant as Gusto. They have been open since Novem­ber last year and, if the fine night I had there last Tues­day is any­thing to go by, they are set to chal­lenge Da Gianni for crown of “My Favourite Ital­ian For 50 Miles”.

Gusto is a long, skinny, sin­gle room dec­o­rated in a bistro style, with cosy wooden ta­bles and very lit­tle faff or fuss. The menu con­tains all the usual Ital­ian favourites, but I’m de­lighted to say that we never even made it to the menu proper as the twice-weekly up­dated spe­cials menu proved to be an am­ple trea­sure trove of tempt­ing sea­sonal de­lights.

Chef Gian­paul stud­ied for three years in north­ern Italy and it’s the rel­a­tively more com­plex and ad­ven­tur­ous cui­sine of the north that he spe­cialises in. That said, the cured veni­son bre­saola with rocket salad and buf­falo ri­cotta was an atyp­i­cally sim­ple of­fer­ing – just three raw in­gre­di­ents ar­ranged on a plate, but the qual­ity of those in­gre­di­ents en­sured it was de­voured with un­seemly haste.

If made in­cau­tiously, Arancini Si­cil­iani (deep fried risotto balls stuffed with moz­zarella) can some­times be a dry, stodgy af­fair, but here it was crunchy yet soft and served with a fra­grant basil and tomato sauce.

JUST THE ITAL­IAN JOB:

Right, Ital­ian ice cream; above, a main of agnello della pri­mav­era – gar­lic and rose­mary roasted spring lamb chump on a bed of lentils with pancetta and onion; far left, a starter of pan-fried cod cheeks on braised lentils with a ca­per and pars­ley...

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