Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gusto at Barkly

"Oh, you will love it!" gushed the real estate agent.  "It is right near Barkly Village."  Barkly Village!  thought I, clasping my hands.  Couples strolling hand in hand past sidewalk cafes, cute shops selling objets, the jolly baker passing out a finger bun to every child that passed.  "Just turn left at the end of the street and you can't miss it."  Five minutes later, heads craning out the windows expectantly, we hit Geelong Road.  My husband and I looked at each other.  That was it?!

That was five years ago and Barkly Village has grown on me.  We lost our bakery and our bank, but Aangan has grown from a little seed of a shop to a great restaurant.  Perhaps inspired by its success, more Indian grocers and restaurants have moved in and every year the local Neighbourhood House runs a fabulous Diwali festival to celebrate our Little India right here in West Footscray.  We still have a proper old-school op shop as well as a great library and new street trees.

Gusto Miss M 015

Still, there is much work to be done and hence the arrival of Gusto at Barkly - wine bar, cafe and gourmet pizza shop - was sweet water to the parched throats of West Footscray residents.  It's on the old site of Mama Theresa's, a fairly unremarkable traditional pizza shop which I think may have now moved to Newport.

Gusto Miss M 001

The decor is classic inner-city cafe with exposed brick, communal table, interesting mags and lovely long-stemmed wine glasses.  I love the arty bulldog banner.  The owners are West Footscray locals and I feel that while Gusto may look like many other chic eateries around town, it's firmly grounded in the Western suburbs.

Gusto Miss M 002
Eggplant chips, $10

These were great!  The eggplant was soft, meaty and amazingly not at all oily.  The crunchy coating was perfectly crisp and non-greasy.  Swiped through the garlic mayo, they were delish.

Gusto Miss M 004
Greek salad, $8.50

This salad was substantial but lacked some zing - the feta was surprisingly quite mild (too mild for my taste) and the dressing was also a bit light.  While they were delectable whole baby ones, there were too many olives all clustered at the bottom of the dish - I mean probably more than 20!

Gusto Miss M 009
"The Gusto", $15.50

Gusto's signature pizza was excellent - small pieces of roasted pumpkin that were not at all overpowering, mild goat's cheese, wafer-thin zucchini and sweet caramelised onion.  The pine nuts were a fabulous textural accent.  Despite the presence of ingredients that can easily become overpowering, like pumpkin and pesto, it was very well balanced, with a tasty, well-made crust.  An impressive five out of all of their ten gourmet pizzas are vegetarian.  Get in early as they do tend to run out of dough quite regularly it seems, based on both my own experience and what I have read online.

Gusto Miss M 011
Latte, $3.30

Cheers to good coffee, too - a well-rounded, chocolatey blend from Coffee Supreme served at the perfect temperature.  The froth was a little sparse but it really was a very nice latte.  Gusto are soon to open daytime and have a spacious outdoor seating area perfect for those with pooches.

Sidewalk cafes - check.  Shops selling objets - there is a fabulous new shop called Post Industrial Design run by a local sculptor and his partner coming to the old computer shop, further down Barkly Street towards Ashley.  They will be opening later this month - watch that space!

Baker with finger bun - ok, not really.  Unless it were a sourdough bun, perhaps!

Gusto At Barkly on Urbanspoon

Gusto at Barkly
587 Barkly Street, West Footscray (map)
Phone:  9396 1755
Hours:  Tues - Sun 5pm - 10pm (til 11 pm Fri & Sat)
BYO only at this stage - $3 corkage per head

Wheelchair Access
Level entry plus spacious outdoor seating


  1. Oh I noticed this place when I was collecting takeaway from Dosa Hut (I think they've changed hands btw, service is still sluggish but I think the food has improved). Will check this place out soon. It was a pleasant evening and the outdoor seating looked very inviting.

  2. I miss Mama Theresas though- cheap and cheery tasty pizza take-aways. This is nice but sometimes you just want a $6 take-away.

  3. Eggplant chips. Yummo. Can't wait to check it out....

  4. Hey Lauren,
    I've now had a chance to try the eggplant chips. Yum indeed!
    Excited to hear about the design place too.

  5. Love your story-telling at the beginning paragraphs. Shows how you've grown so familiar with the area. : ) I'll look for Barkly Village next time I'm in the area.

  6. Is it bad that the first thing I noticed the lovely thick Mayo...? Pizza looks amazing too

  7. The pizza is full of veggies. Full of cream and mayo. Let's eat...

  8. Oooh I live near Barkly Village too! LOL I haven't seen this place so thanks for letting me know. I discovered the Social Roasting Co the other day near the showgrounds which served a mean brekkie and coffee. Lovin the west!

    Catch up soon.

  9. Yeah really great food..great staff and nice to be able to have a meal followed by a great coffee in Barkly ;)

  10. I took my mother's group in here for a casual dinner. We had four pizzas and the eggplant chips, calamari and salads for entree. Worked out to be very reasonable and we all loved it. Service was friendly and atmosphere was wonderful. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a decent place to get a good meal.

  11. I just stumbled across your blog in search for some support in my moving to Footscray.
    See, I love my nowadays yuppy Collingwood and walking to the city and good coffee and wine at every step. But somedays I admit I can't breathe with it all 'always on'.
    Thanks for your lovely blog. I think I might check out a house in Footscray this weekend.

  12. Jessica, I am so flattered that my little blog may have inspired you to move west. This is such a wonderful area and I have such a strong community. Highly recommended... if you need specific tips, feel free to email :)

  13. Hi Lauren!

    wow! their pizzas are yummo! and they're on Twitter too! You know our suburb's gentrified when these lovely cafes start popping up!


    @cubbieberry on Twitter

  14. Following this blog, I've been trying new eateries around Footscray and I should admit this place is just fabulous. It matches the standards of authentic Fitzroy/North-Fitzroy pizzerias. The price tag is a bit high but you shouldn't be eating pizzas everyday!!! A very good addition to the west and hope people like us inspire more cafes like this to spread across the west.

  15. Gusto is nice, but I do miss Mama Teresa's (uni student here!). I've lived in WeFo (haha, love it!) for close to three years now and love it here! It's definitely got better since I've lived here too, but I don't want it to become 'too good' and lose it's heart/charm.

    I'm devastated to hear that there was a bakery here! Can someone please bring it back! Also, a good, local chicken shop would be nice (Central West is a bit far cause I'm car-less).

    Love your blog, it's good to see some Footscray/West appreciation, we get a bad rap sometimes, unfortunately!


    1. Anon, did you know the little fruit and veg shop (called Rocco's I think) sell bread from Sourdough Kitchen?? Yummy! Good chicken shop would be nice too. :-) Glad you like the blog!


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