Thanks a Brunch, Gusto!

Image source: Photographer Ian Waldie

Busting it out for Autumn, embracing seasonal produce and a riverside setting is Gusto. Helen Flanagan fine-tuned her taste buds in anticipation.

The ever-evolving French-leaning restaurant with a modern coastal ethos is evocative, classically cruising in style, with a well-defined menu beverage list and impeccable service.

The menus range from a la carte to sensational weekday, Saturday and Sunday set lunches as well as specially created degustations. The flavours are diverse and inspired by head chef Sacha Ryan’s love of fragrant spices such as cumin, sumac, fenugreek, cardamom, baharat and turmeric, also having a close association with producers, farmers and fishermen and their premium products.

Hitting the high notes, the gospel of menus is a brilliant take on Brunch.

Sacha, who worked for mentor David Rayner for four years says: “Every Sunday from 10.30am to noon, think dishes such as a Crab Omelette with Sweetcorn; Eggs Benedict with House-Cured Salmon, Spinach, Hollandaise and Salmon Caviar; and Smoked Fish Salad with Kipflers, Horseradish, Soft-Boiled Egg, Dill and Crispy Capers.

“I love being able to recreate an emotion for someone enjoying my food,” she says. “It might remind them of a person or place – or maybe they are just completely taken aback by the dish.”

Sweet and sparkly indulgences include French Toast Maple Syrup, Ice Cream and Berries; Coconut Pannacotta with Seasonal Fruits; and let’s celebrate with any dish and a bottomless one hour of Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Prosecco or Elderflower Spritz, or Taittinger Champagne for a tad extra.

Sacha’s Polish-born mother inspired the little kid to bake scones, cakes, biscuits and an apple tea cake that was the best – as was rifling through her magazine clippings and recipe books.

“I’m very vegetable driven, love the idea of a vegetarian dish outshining any protein, also using as much produce as possible for minimal wastage,” Sacha says.

“I am very drawn to Middle Eastern flavours, and I always try to remember a customer’s absolute favourite dish.

The surprising showstopper that has already proven a hit with diners of all ages is the roast pumpkin.

“If I was a dish I would be this one,” says Sacha. “Roasted Pumpkin on Amba Sauce with Olive Tapenade, Crispy Kale, and Caramelised Walnuts – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free – and totally delicious.”

We can vouch for that with the famed Israeli Amba Sauce packing a flavoursome punch that needs to be tasted to be believed!

What’s next? Suggestions included Tempura Zucchini Flower stuffed with Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Beetroot Cashew Cream, Harissa Oil and Pepita; Chargrilled WA Lobster Tail with Butter Sauce, Salmon Roe, Prawn Oil; Butterflied U8 Skull Island Prawns with Burnt Chilli, Maple Bacon and Butter; and Torn Burrata with Serrano Ham, Garden Peas, Pickled Radish, Spiced Almond Crumb and Mint Dressing.

For the main event let the taste buds tango with Prawns Spaghettini with Chilli, Confit Tomatoes, Lemon, Garlic and Chives; Mussels Provençale in a Tomato and Garlic Broth with Baguette and Chips; Housemade Potato Gnocchi, Broccoli Pesto, Garden Peas, Spinach, Crispy Sage and Parmesan; Crispy Skin Salmon, White Bean Purée, Maple Dutch Carrots, Chorizo; Confit Duck Leg with Celeriac Purée, Walnut, Celery, Apple, Broadleaf Rocket, Duck Fat Potatoes and Jus; and Grilled Wagyu Rump with Truffle Parsnip Purée, Crispy Enoki Mushrooms and Jus.

Creme Brûlée and Lemon Tart are never-to-be-removed classics and Sacha has revamped a few of her faves for autumn, such as Apple and Pear Crumble with an outstanding Date and Cardamom Ice-cream.

“Also a good old Treacle Tart but I’ve added a decadent Chocolate Ganache and a Bitter Chocolate Soil, with Mascarpone to complement,” she shares. “The opportunity to create and play around with a lot of flavours through wine dinner events is exciting.

Gusto’s sommelier Dale Potts will give me three key words on the specific wines chosen for the event and I’ll run with them creating an unique menu for every event.”

Seasoned restaurateur and owner of Gusto Tim Lepoutre says Sacha is exemplary and has slipped into the role of head chef so naturally.

“She’s very calm even under extreme pressure when service becomes chaotic,” he says.

Sacha who has the knack of keeping her kitchen team calm at all times, attributes it to relentless training as a professional boxer and fights in the Superfly and Bantamweight divisions.

“I train 5-6 days a week regardless of work load at the restaurant, even if that means training early morning and between lunch and dinner services,” she says.

“I never stand still and am very self-motivated, a trait I take into the kitchen.” What a knockout!

About the Author /

Noosa’s sophisticated charm, vibrant food culture and the magnetism of a subtropical paradise surrounded by national parks, inveigled Helen’s manic world and flipped it on its side. She pursues the good life with gusto, instinctively understanding the joys of travel, the art of story-telling, a candid review and surviving another reno whilst thriving on the motto Live Laugh Love!

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