Charlotte Wareing had a challenge on her hands when faced with filling the belly of her fella
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
With that in mind, I decided to give my other half a break from my microwave meals and take him out for a midweek treat.
As a man who judges food on quantity over quality, I went for a place that sounded like it could fill his belly adequately - Gusto Italia.
Situated off the main stretch in Bamber Bridge, He Who Eats For Free and I went along a little unsure of what to expect.
Our reservations disappeared when we were ushered into the cosy dining area and grabbed a table for two by the window.
The restaurant and takeaway is owned by Vito Bruno, former manager of the Olive Press in Preston, and boasts a menu full of Italian favourites from pasta and meat dishes to pizzas baked before your eyes in a wood oven.
Not wasting any time, I chose a starter of pate served with crusty Italian bread from the specials (£4.50), while He Who Eats For Free chose stuffed mushrooms with garlic breadcrumbs (£3.20).
Taking advantage of a break from my cooking, we also ordered a garlic bread to get our taste buds going.
When we couldn’t decide whether to top it with cheese or tomato, our waiter eased any couple-y squabbles by suggesting half and half. Very diplomatic.
No sooner had our plates arrived and we had polished off our starters and were relaxing comfortably into our surroundings. My pate was smooth and tasty and came with caramelised onions which gave the plate a pop.
He Who Eats For Free reliably informed me his mushrooms were equally as tasty and his empty plate was a good sign.
We shared the garlic bread which was delightfully thin and light.
The dining room wasn’t booming, it was a Wednesday night after all, but there was a very steady stream of takeaway customers which proved this place is a real hidden gem.
Many also took advantage of the delivery option as the man rushing in and out with his big red delivery bag showed.
For our main courses I ordered Salsiccia al Sugo - an Italian sausage dish with a tomato and basil sauce and served with pasta (£6.50), while He Who Eats For Free ordered the 14 inch Piccante pizza topped with spicy salami, spicy beef, peppers, chilli and olives (£9.50), and a side of roast potatoes (£1.50).
On hearing his order our waiter turned to me and with a wink said ‘Do you think he’ll finish it?’. He underestimates my eating partner.
The plates arrived and I couldn’t wait to tuck into my pasta, while the pizza was real a mountain of a dish, piled high with delicious toppings.
‘This is my Everest’, He Who Eats For Free declared, grabbing his fork and a crispy roast potato too.
My dish looked and tasted authentically Italian with a rich, thick sauce, and I was pleased the pasta came al dente.
We happily munched our way through our dishes and decided we would definitely be returning to the restaurant as we spotted a sign advertising regular Italian tapas and wine tasting evenings.
With my eyes bigger than my belly I was forced to admit defeat on my Italian sausage and asked for a doggy bag.
With a smug look from He Who Eats For Free, he relished his last fork-full and sat back feeling full.We washed down our lovely meal with a couple of bottles of Peroni each and were pleasantly surprised when the bill landed. Our night out cost us £38.35 and we were pleased to part with every penn