Gusto, Newcastle Quayside

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CALL me old fashioned, but whenever I eat in an Italian restaurant I always want to feel like I’m in Italy.

That said, a trip to Newcastle to try the famed Gusto’s Italian treats was a break from tradition.

The glass-fronted restaurant’s dark wood floors, walls and fashionable lighting all create the feel of a swanky hotel, not a place to serve hearty Italian dishes.

On arrival we were seated upstairs on the mezzanine which has an impressive view over the Tyne.

Settled into our booth my pals and I started to wade our way through the extensive menu.

Friend Leigh was slightly overwhelmed by the choice, and eventually decided to break completely from tradition by ordering sweet chilli prawn tagliatelle (£10.25).

Hannah picked salmon rigatoni (£10.95) and I went for the fishiest option, lobster and king prawn spaghetti (£18.95).

We also picked a rosemary and sea salt garlic (£3.95) just to be greedy.

To toast the departure of our lovely friend Hannah to the bright lights of London, we decided on a glass of Prosecco, which comes in at a fairly reasonable £5 for Rose, and £5.50 for White.

The food arrived pretty swiftly, excellently presented and piping hot – in fact it couldn’t be faulted.

The pasta was al dente and there was just enough of it.

I enjoyed my fishy serving and the use of fresh chillies in the tomato sauce gave the pasta a spicy kick.

My only wish was that there could have been slightly more lobster in the pasta.

I didn’t pick a dessert as I wasn’t in a sweet mood, but the other two opted for the semifredo, which they said went down a treat.

Served with a chocolate sauce and packed with nuts, it was a good contrast to their savoury choices.

Over all, Gusto came up trumps. I can see why it’s a good pick for special occasions as the restaurant is very swanky and the food is very decent.

Perhaps the prices could be slightly less, but I would make a return visit.

Monica Turnbull