182 Charlotte Street, Peterborough
The perfect place to spend a soggy, gloomy Tuesday evening is in a warm, inviting, gourmet pub, so we head out to meet a friend at Brio Gusto. The restaurant is decorated in rich warm woods accented by rustic lighting, and features a large bar surrounded by bistro seating.
We sit in one of the front rooms with a great view of Charlotte Street. Our waiter is hospitable and makes our evening very comfortable.
The menu offers a wide variety of food types and styles, so there is something for everyone whether you are vegetarian, very hungry or just there to graze and nibble. As always, we arrive hungry and are eager to try as many dishes as we can. On the menu, all of the mains and many of starters and salads are paired with wines—making the selection that much easier.
We start the meal with an appetizer platter called “Molto Gusto”, which is very aptly named and definitely not your average appetizer platter. This platter features spicy, vibrant and fresh dishes including: two varieties of homemade hummus, crispy panko fried artichokes, tomato garlic infused shrimp, bacon wrapped stuffed dates and spicy marinated vegetables accompanied by a basket of fresh breads. What a delightful way to wake up your taste buds.
My husband then opts for the striploin steak. It is drizzled in a mushroom, onion, peppercorn demi-glace married with crisp, fresh, seasonal roasted vegetables and a creamy and rich cheddar herb stuffed baked potato. The steak is perfect—just the right amount of pink inside, juicy and tender. The steak is paired with Famillia Cecchin Syrah wine, an Argentinean red, full bodied, spicy, smooth and full of berry undertones. My husband is very happy!
Our friend decides on the pasta special—penne tossed with asparagus, mushrooms, onions and chicken in a wild leek cream pesto sauce. The pasta is perfectly cooked and the sauce is garlicky and creamy without being too rich. I think the key is that the chef knows exactly how much sauce to use—not too little that the dish is dry, but not too much that the food is swimming.
In a word, this pasta dish is cooked “awesomely”. I order the Mama Mango Pie, a pizza topped with goat cheese, mango, artichokes, onion and ham. It is written in the menu that you must allow 20 minutes for any pizza order. The wait is definitely worth it! This gourmet, grown-up version of the traditional Hawaiian pizza is sweet and savory, and the homemade crust is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. The tropical flavours of the pizza are highlighted by the wine pairing, Terenzoula Vermentino Colli di Luni—an Italian white wine with hints of honey, vanilla, pear and lemon.
We share dessert, because really, after all that food, who has room? But we can’t pass up peanut butter and chocolate cake—a triple layer cake made by the devil himself, so it says on the menu. And they aren’t lying. This cake is a mash-up of chocolate and peanut butter and tastes like Halloween.
Returning to Peterborough after being out west for almost five years, I am happy to see that Brio Gusto is still around, bigger and better than before.
[Reviewed by PtboCanada's food writer Tammy Simon]
In case you missed it, check out Tammy's first review for us here on Electric City Gardens.