Making Gusto’s delicious pizza. Picture: Kevin McFeely

GUSTO restaurant in the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, staged a launch to remember recently with a taster menu, cocktails and an array of edible treats, all praised by celebrity comperes/broadcasters Marty Whelan and Nuala Carey

The festival, organised by the Alliance Française Dublin and the Cultural and Scientific Service of the French Embassy, is supported by The Arts Council, Foras na Gaeilge, Poetry Ireland, Ireland Literature Exchange and the Irish Writers’ Centre.
A trio of musicians went around the well-appointed and ultra-modern though comfortable restaurant, with guitars and a double bass taking requests from the diners. Food on offer included mostly Italian, homemade fare such as pasta, pizzas and gloriously fresh stone-baked breads with tapenade.
Gusto’s relaxed vibe is ideal for both young and more mature diners and their prices are very reasonable. As a vegetarian and proponent of gluten-free food, I was delighted to see an array of options suitable for me on the menu.
I had gluten-free bread with basil and tomato soup, plenty of fresh black and green marinated olives, and gluten-free pizza with buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers.
Those around the table enjoyed free rein, with a selection of Gusto pizzas such as the house special, containing Sicilian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, salami, chorizo and basil pesto.
This Casa Speciale pizza cost €15.95, while a Gusto homemade beef burger made from 100% Irish beef with spicy tomatoes, red pepper relish and smoked cheese is priced at €16.95.
There was complete silence as platters of food were handed around and diners tucked into dishes such as Linguine Al Frutti di Mare (€16.95), which included prawns, mussels, salmon and fire-roasted sweet peppers in a white wine and garlic sauce.
As well as this, there was chicken with Sicilian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella served with basil pesto mash and red pepper coulis – all of which resulted in more devout silence from the diners.
The taster meal was interspersed with wooden platters carrying grapes, a selection of Italian and Irish cheeses and olives. For further information on Gusto restaurant, see www.clarionhotelliffeyvalley.com/eat-drink/gusto-restaurant.