Restaurant Review: Gusto at the Grand

Situated inside SkyCity Grand (where the old Dine by Peter Gordon once stood), Gusto is a rustic Italian cuisine with plates designed to share. It is advertised to use simple food and ingredients with a menu designed by Sean Connolly.

I have been to Gusto previously (prior to me keeping a food blog) and unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the food there too much as it was quite salty. Months later today I thought I’d give it another chance when my friend wanted to have Italian cuisine for dinner.

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The menu

My friend and I were looking for a smaller meal tonight, so we went straight to the pasta and leave a little room for dessert. We ordered the mushroom risotto and fresh clam spaghetti, with seasonal asparagus tossed in lemon butter sprinkled with Parmesan cheese as a side to share.

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I love the freshness in the clam spaghetti, in fact, it was so light and tasty I felt I could have another order of that. My friend who had the risotto felt her food was very salty and I agree. We couldn’t finish the risotto in the end (despite me still feeling I was able to eat another main) because it was really quite salty. (Felt like my kidneys had to work hard to get rid of the salt!)

For dessert we ordered the much loved Lewis Road pannacotta, with strawberry and rhubarb, and the Bombolini filled with nutella (guilty pleasure). They were both really good but the portion is seriously for sharing only. I’ll recommend sharing between 2-3 for these desserts as they are quite big.

Overall the mean was fulfilling but I won’t say it is up to the standard or expectations of the other restaurants within the complex.

I’ll give it 2/5 for the amount of salt used in food!

SKYCITY Grand Hotel
90 Federal Street, Auckland


Monday-Friday 6.30am-10.30am
Saturday & Sunday 6.30am-11.00am

Daily 12pm-2.30pm

Daily 5pm–late


Tuna filled portobello mushrooms

Quick cooking tonight because there were just the two of us.

First we have portobello mushrooms filled with tuna fish and drizzle with truffle oil. For a difference, we also have a second portobello filled with mashed potato and bacon (guilty pleasure). Both of them were covered with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Cooking time was 10-15 minutes in the oven, grilled at 200 degrees Celsius or until cheese were melted and golden.

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Finished product, garnish with fresh mint leaves

Finished product, garnish with fresh mint leaves


Restaurant review: The Grill

This restaurant is my all time favourite so far. First time time I went was not because of Sean Connolly’s name, little did I know about him, nor the fact that it was a new eatery at SkyCity Grand Hotel.  All I was looking for was a great steak! I was not disappointed. Friday night was my fourth visit and I am still loving this restaurant.

We had two visitors in this party of five for a Good Friday dinner.  We were lead to our tables on arrival, but to found that there was one missing set. After it was all settled, we were brought back to the table, happily set on our way.

We were first served with bread – choice of macadamia nuts white bread, white sourdough or brown sourdough, with Lewis Road Creamery butter.  Those who live in New Zealand would know the latest craze with this creamery’s chocolate milk. Their other products are just as nice. The butter is creamy and rich, slightly salted, but I wish it was less salty. I had it with a piece of white sourdough.



For five people we ordered a seafood platter with Queensland prawns, Cloudy Bay clams and king crab claws and scampi sashimi with olive oil, chilli, coriander and lime to start. This was my first time having seafood at The Grill. It was alright but I was hoping for more variety. To be fair we asked for no oysters as three people in the party were not interested in those. I was still hoping for other types of seafood, or different clams to replace the oysters.

Scampi sashimi

Scampi sashimi

Seafood platter - Queensland prawns, Cloudy Bay clams, scampi, king crab claws

Seafood platter – Queensland prawns, Cloudy Bay clams, scampi,
king crab claws

As for the main I asked for my usual “Study of Beef”. They never disappoint. Recently The Grill introduced a lot more wagyu so we had wagyu beef skirt, wagyu scotch fillet, and grain fed angus on the board. The wagyu had just the right amount of fat and nicely distributed.

Study of Beef

Study of Beef

We also ordered a slow roasted lamb shoulder with raspberry vinegar in star anise gravy. It was slightly crunchy and the lamb shoulder was so tender we didn’t need knifes. The lamb literally melted off the bone.

Slow roasted lamb  shoulder

Slow roasted lamb shoulder, raspberry vinegar and star anise gravy

As a guilty pleasure, I ordered a potato gratin. Yes, one where you overdose yourself with cream, butter, and lightly sprinkled cheese for the crunch. Hmmmmm, no words could have described it. This one, you will just have to try for it yourself.

Potato gratin

Potato gratin

Pity we were too full for dinner. Otherwise the valrhona chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream is always my faviourite.

I simply don’t go there enough, but I’m sure will be back again.


The Grill by Sean Connolly

SKYCITY Grand Hotel

90 Federal Street, Auckland

Phone: +64-9-363-7067

Booking can be made online, or via email: