A smart blue and white frontage and neatly tiered bay tree at the door hint at the big ideas at work in this little designer wine bar & café near Singer's Corner.
It's the brainchild of Marianne Delaney, former manager of The Exchange on George's Quay, and her Ballymaloe-trained partner Denis O'Mullane, who take pride in sourcing the very best quality ingredients.
It began as a coffee bar - they specialise in gourmet rolls, wraps and salads, either to go or to eat on the premises, and coffee is made by baristas trained to master standard, using 100% arabica beans from the Java Roasting Company.
The same philosophy applies to the food, in a short daytime menu ranging from Simply Cheddar (freshly baked Italian bread filled with Hegarty cheese, beef tomato, white onion & Ballymaloe relish) to The Flying Bacon (filled with chicken, bacon, Emmenthal, honey Dijon, lettuce & tomato). Food prices are not much more than supermarket sandwiches and the extensive range of coffees, teas, herbal teas etc is keenly priced too.
More recently they have opened on late-week evenings, offering mezze, antipasto and tapas as well as other Mediterranean inspired dishes including salads, homemade soups, Moroccan lamb tagine and albondigas (meatballs).
Provenance is king at Café Gusto, where they have always supported small local producers and buy most of their supplies through the English Market.
Wines selected to match the food are available (bottle, half-carafe and by the the glass) but BYO is also allowed at a modest corkage charge (€4).
Known for great quality and good value, this is a popular local meeting place.
*There's a second Café Gusto beside the Clarion Hotel on Lapps Quay, and a sister restaurant Liberty Grill, on Washington Street (see entry).