I tried Gusto as part of Newcastle restaurant week and found another Italian to add to the city's great range

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There are plenty of Italian restaurants across the city, but how did this Quayside eatery compare?

Newcastle Restaurant Week is a great chance for residents to get out and try new places while businesses may be struggling after a fall in bookings after a busy Christmas period.

With that in mind, our reporter had a solo evening on the Quayside thanks to a stay at a nearby hotel and decided to give Gusto a visit. This is what he thought:

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It can be easy to miss Gusto when regularly walking along the quayside. Tucked behind the more prominent Pitcher and Piano next to Gateshead's Millennium Bridge, the site will often be seen in the background of walks to and from Ouseburn without pedestrians giving it too much of a thought.

That was my experience of the restaurant anyway, so with an evening in Newcastle to myself there was no better time or reason to see what was on offer from the Italian.

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Upon entering I was surprised to see how quiet the site was, only to get taken upstairs for a seat where the majority of diners were placed. The site itself was presented with fairy lights decorating the huge glass front of the building and a spiral staircase creating a large gap of seating for customers to come and go below.

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I was quickly served by a set of lovely staff and asked what I wanted to drink, only to find out the beer I selected, an IPA, was off draught. Not to worry, a bottle seemed just as appetising, albeit very close to the same price as a pint.

Most Newcastle Restaurant Week offerings are available in £15 £20 and £25 deals, usually depending on the amount of courses ordered and Gusto is no different.

On top of the drink, £20 for two courses seems like a good deal, and based on the food it wasn't bad at all. The starting bruschetta was a solid appetiser and the very thinly diced tomato was a nice touch while the penne arrabbiata blew my tastebuds away thanks to the heat of the peppers used, although the penne itself was of similar quality to what I could sort out on my own hob after a long day at work.

Overall, the food was nice enough, but aside from the heat of the arrabbiata sauce, it is tough to find a way in which Gusto can distinguish itself from other Italians in the city. Maybe the quayside location will assist, but the site is one which leans into the idea that most Italian restaurants remain the same in terms of food.

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In short: Perfectly serviceable, but very little about Gusto helps to separate it from its competitors.

Away from the dining experience, my receipt came with a pre existing service charge which took my £20 meal with a beer upwards of £30 in total - which was a shock and a half to end the evening!

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