Ester Celva pats her bosom. Little daughter Vittoria will have her first birthday shortly and she is now on solids. So a change of lunch for the baby means lunchtimes are back for all fans of VeroGusto, the very Italian restaurant on Norfolk Row, Sheffield.
It’s been closed for lunch for a year because Ester cannot breastfeed and chef at the same time but a tweet this week alerted customers they are open again. Originally Ester and her partner Bruno Saverio were just going to do Saturdays but she changed her mind at the last minute.
It was a short menu when we called in on Thursday but more choice is promised as the kitchen gears up. The place wasn’t full – news hadn’t quite got around and the website hadn’t been updated – but what there was was excellent, as any look at TripAdvisor will tell you.
Our visit solved a mystery. We hadn’t seen waiter Michael Pilarski for a time and assumed he’d moved on but he walked out of the kitchen in chef’s whites. “It’s much more interesting,” he says.
If you’re Googling the reviews bear in mind that this place started out as Gusto-Italiano in Church Street in 2007 then moved to Norfolk Row and dropped the ‘Italiano,’ becoming VeroGusto last year after a legal letter from a restaurant chain.
The kitchen was in a generous mood and gave us complimentary flatbreads, drizzled with balsamic and sandwiched with ham, before our mains arrived. Both were an object lesson in how Italian cooking can make a few excellent ingredients perform to the utmost.
I had pappardelle di manzo (£11.95), broad strips of delicious egg pasta with a deep, rich bolognese ragu. This pasta wasn’t home made but my wife’s taglierini cozze was, pasta moistened with a delicately flavoured broth of sweet little mussels (also £11.95).
The wines were good, in particular a strawberryish Segreto Rosso, a house red at £5.80 for a small glass. My wife had a crisp, dry Vementino for £6.50.
They make their own desserts here. Of course. We shared a plate of three sticky and juicy rum babas (£5.95) with a couple of proper Americanos (£2.50 each). The bill came to £47.50 for lunch and yes, that is pricy, as TripAdvisor reviewers, say but it is a trip to Italy for an hour or two without the cost of the air fare.
My review last year for the Sheffield Star is here http://www.thestar.co.uk/features/food-review-verogusto-12-norfolk-row-sheffield-s1-2pa-tel-0114-276-0004-1-6922007
VeroGusto, 12 Norfolk Row, Sheffield S1 2PA. Tel: 0114 276 0004. Web: http://www.verogusto.com