As the barometer of all things family-related in York, It’s our duty – and our absolute pleasure – to check out new eateries in the city to see how they fare for customers with kids in tow. So when we were invited to visit Gusto, the new Italian-inspired restaurant in the old Mulberry Hall building, before it opens to the public, we jumped at the chance. We love and support independent businesses as much as we can, but we know that sometimes, with the best will in the world, families end up in chain restaurants. And we want to make sure that you know the chains in York that cater best for kids.
So, first things first: the space is stunning. It’s all bare brick, black and white prints, twinkling lights and low, comfortable chairs. There’s a buzzy, relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere – all very adult, but we felt completely relaxed visiting with our two year old. One of the friendly team produced a highchair, kids’ menu and pot of crayons as soon as we sat down, and deftly removed the wine glasses from within our toddler’s reach (she’s not quite on the sauvignon blanc yet). There are baby-changing facilities on the ground floor, and we were delighted to be able to shunt our soaking wet buggy off to the cloakroom until we’d finished our meal.
While we enjoyed olives and warm ciabatta, the little one tucked into a complimentary pot of carrot and cucumber sticks. She was most excited about the main event: a really tasty pizza, ready-sliced and delivered in double-quick time. On an ordinary day, children can make their own pizza by choosing three toppings and sprinkling them onto the base at the table before it’s cooked by the chef and delivered back. Anything that gets kids involved in the making of their meal gets our vote. While she enjoyed her pizza, I enjoyed a generously portioned pasta dish with a spicy tomato and mozzarella sauce and Mr Viking was defeated by a huge ribeye steak that he declared delicious. A word to the frugal – sides are extra, so you’ll need to fork out if you like fries (or anything else) with your meat.
Too full for pudding, we finished with a couple of cappucinos while the littlest viking enjoyed (and dribbled everywhere) a chocolate Mini Milk lolly. The whole experience was enjoyable, relaxed and easy – not always the case when eating out with kids. Gusto certainly ticks the family-friendly box, but we can see it becoming a favourite date night destination too, with a wine and cocktail list that we only just managed to resist on a rainy Tuesday lunchtime. If you fancy trying Gusto for yourselves, book through this link to save 25%.