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hamilton, mid-range, restaurants and cafes

HOT: Gusto da Gianni, Portside Wharf, Remora Rd, Hamilton

Gianno Portside Wharf Hamilton

Gusto da Gianni is an Italian restaurant, advice located on the river in the stylish but unpretentious Portside Wharf precinct. Although we chose it more for its location than for its reputation, medications we were rewarded with a pleasant experience.

The first thing we noticed on arriving was the funky chandelier made from about 20 desk lamps, pointing inwards and shaped like a UFO. The second thing we noticed was that the wait staff appear to have been flown in specially from Italy, complete with thick accents, to add that extra touch of authenticity. Impressive attention to detail!

A classic bruschetta was a nice way to start the meal ($9), and the billiard ball-sized ricotta and olive fritters with onion jam were an interesting and flavoursome entrée ($19).

Then on to the mains. I remember a (actual) restaurant critic saying once that the way judge the quality of an Italian restaurant is to order risotto or gnocchi. Risotto, I know from experience, takes quite a lot of time and manual labour. Gnocchi, I know from having watched MasterChef, takes a fine balance of ingredients and a very careful amount of cooking.

After years of being disappointed by exquisite-sounding risottos, we have just about given up on that particular acid-test – which leaves the gnocchi. Or, in the case of Gusto da Gianni, the “gnochetti”, which presumably means “small gnocchi” ($27). For me, the pleasure of gnocchi is as much about the texture as the taste, and on that score I couldn’t fault it. The taste, however, from the sauce of Moreton Bay bugs, chilli and tomato, was a little overpowering. The flavour was fine, but there was just too much of it. The other meals around the table – a Moreton Bay bug, tomato and red onion salad and a crumbed lamb rack – were much better balanced and well presented. Unlike my photography.

gusto 2_

Overall, the experience was a good one at Gusto da Gianni. It may seem strange to judge an Italian restaurant without trying the pizza, but honestly, how hard is it to do a decent pizza?

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  1. Went to lunch, 2 of us shared pane, 4 antipasti and a risotto of the day. Not so good:-dip for pane-more balsamic than oil; meatballs dry and tomato sauce too salty; batter for zucchini flower chewy; sliced octopus rubbery, not tenderised. Good:- baby pepper sweet, its tuna and onion stuffing delicious; risotto,al-dente and sweet corn sauce goes well with salty pancetta. One of the best.

    Posted by mumkwok | December 18, 2009, 6:20 pm
  2. Hmm all in all it doesn’t sound like Gusto da Gianni is much of a HOT – too many poor dishes.

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | December 21, 2009, 8:48 am
  3. I don’t think it’s so bad. It’s a matter of taste!

    Posted by Mini | January 25, 2010, 7:29 pm
  4. Italian restuarants tend to disappoint when it comes to the more manual dishes to make. If it’s outside of boiling noodles, simmering a sauce, and handing you bread, many just won’t be capable of doing it.
    .-= Doug´s last blog ..How to Broil Hamburger =-.

    Posted by Doug | February 22, 2010, 4:04 pm
  5. Hi Doug

    Thanks for your comment. I think a mediocre Italian restaurant certainly can’t beyond boiling noodles etc – but there are many excellent Italian restaurants where even the noodle-boiling and sauce simmering is done well! Unfortunately I just don’t think in Brisbane Gusto da Gianni is that place….we’re on the lookout!

    Jetsetting Joyce

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | February 22, 2010, 4:17 pm
  6. Probably the worst Italian food I have tried in Brisbane. My partners lasagne was frozen in the middle and my pasta was tasteless!! We where so disappointed. Oh well you live and learn and we wont be returning and will be sure to tell our friends!

    Posted by Gugu | July 19, 2010, 10:16 pm
  7. Hi Gugu,
    That is a shame, you’d expect much more from a venue like this. Thanks for letting us know about your experience!

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | July 20, 2010, 9:32 am
  8. Thanks for the review. I’m a big fan of gnocci so might have to test them out.

    Posted by Mandy | July 22, 2010, 2:30 pm
  9. We went here for dinner with friends. Service was terrible – all staff that were involved in our orders forgot our order, kept bringing out incorrect meals and were rude. The meals we ordered were of very poor quality and very small portions. I ordered amatriciana — it was tomato, and chunks of leg ham! lacking flavour ( no chilli or garlic!) and very disappointing! another dish ordered was with clams, there were plenty of shells in the dish with very little seafood!!Very expensive -with 2 dishes, garlic bread and 3 drinks =$130!! We were very unhappy with our experience and will not be returning.

    Posted by Frances | December 27, 2011, 9:31 pm

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