Con Gusto Lives Up To Its Name
In an effort to keep my grey matter from completely stagnating, I’m teaching myself Italian using the Duolingo app. Not only am I learning useful sentences like “I see a whale” and “My lion drinks milk” but I also know that con gusto means with flavour.
Or something like that.
And it’s flavour that Con Gusto has in spades. A modern Italian restaurant/bar, it’s the latest addition to SE18’s nascent dining scene. (Actually we’re still a few restaurants short of a proper scene, per se, but it won’t be long now. Tapas bar please.)
To find Con Gusto, walk through the Arsenal toward the Woolwich Pier. Con Gusto has, by some miracle, been inserted into one of the pair of diminutive 1815 guardhouses near Assembly, the group of figures by Peter Burke. There are nine tables, a bar that seats half a dozen or so, a loo, a coat rack, and what must be a very compact kitchen. Amazing.
The Con Gusto team, lead by brothers Rigels and Bledi, is passionate and creative. They’ve vowed to change the menu monthly so there’s always something new for regulars to tuck into. The March menu makes delectable reading. Starters include slowcooked pork shoulder tortelloni pasta with four cheese ragu. I’m going back for that. I had caramelised octopus with crushed potatoes, black olives and peashoots. Superb blend of textures and flavours. For mains, my handmade rustichelle with slowcooked wild boar ragu was rich and hearty and married extremely well with a bottle (okay, two) of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo red from the Cantina Zaccagnini winery (pictured above). A couple of my charming dining companions had the slowcooked ox cheeks in red wine reduction with celeriac purée and Savoy cabbage with pancetta. Thumbs up. We could have chosen panfried cod loin with black venere rice and steamed tenderstem broccoli, or saffron risotto with asparagus tips, any one of half a dozen dishes. There’s always next time though. Actually, make that next week.
I’m not really one for dolce so I can’t personally vouch for the tiramisu, but my friends can. And it disappeared before I could beg a spoonful, so you’ll just need to try it for yourself. A couple of us shared the cheese platter (pictured). Perfetto!
Con Gusto is the small, local, intimate Italian restaurant I’ve been wishing for and I’m bloody glad it’s here. In Woolwich, in 2017. Grazie mille.
Details are at http://www.congusto.co.uk and on Twitter at @congustotweets