My mum has always said that I have expensive tastes, way beyond my actual budget, even when I was a kid. Being a food fanatic is a costly business, I only have limited resources and so have to choose how I'm spending my dwindling money as wisely as I can. I like to eat the very best though - high end Michelin star restaurants if possible - which I can only visit infrequently (although way too much according to Mrs Bacon,) and budget cheap eats, which obviously I can do more regularly. Costs mount up though, I reckon I dropped over two grand in Barcelona alone. Most of it was wisely spent though, and I don't regret it, what else am I going to do with it? Save it?!
So I tend to avoid what I class as mid-range and even more so chain restaurants, I've found that these can be (but not always) the most disappointing of places, I'd prefer to spend a little more or a little less.
At no point does the restaurant in question ever say they offer it - in exchange for a good review (in my experience anyway.) Obviously they're hoping you give them a good write up, but actually sometimes constructive criticism can be just as helpful, so I always give it when necessary as I would anyway if I was paying for it. Don't forget as well, that it takes hours on just one post - so a lot of work goes into it, sorting the photos out etc, so the 'free meal' takes a lot of work and time in the end.
Anyway, I was contacted by Gusto in Cheadle Hulme. I had no idea what Gusto was, it was off my radar, I googled it, it's a chain mid range restaurant, (my least favourite) but the reviews were favourable, so I accepted the invitation.
It's just past Waitrose in Cheadle Hulme (my dream: being able to do a full weekly shop in there,) and looks rather swish from the outside. Oh I forgot to mention - it's a Living Ventures operation, so I knew it'd be well run.
Extremely good first impressions, a smart interior and very friendly staff welcoming us, even down to a massive bunch of flowers in the entrance - all these details matter - clearly we were in safe hands.
It was quiet at 5pm but by the time we left it was filling up nicely. I'd guess this is likely the best restaurant round these parts.
Hand Rolled Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce (£5.95) were damn good too.
Spaghetti with crayfish, garlic, chilli and extra virgin olive oil. (£6.50)
Star Dish: Parmesan Risotto.
Tune: Brazilian Love Affair - George Duke. Played that night. RIP the late George Duke.
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