A little slice of Tuscany in Soho | Tuscanic, 72 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UN
Often it takes us a while to relax and get settled in when we visit a restaurant. We’re usually rushing and knackered from the day job, so switching off and enjoying the night can sometimes take a while to happen.
At Tuscanic, no sooner had we walked through the door we were charmed and swept away to that can’t be beaten feeling of being on holiday. This sense of calm was despite the hustle and bustle, the small rickety stools and tables barely big enough to hold our food without it almost slipping into our laps. This long and narrow Italian café bypasses London-based suppliers and goes straight to Tuscany for its charcuterie, bread, beer, wine and even its bottled water. Although true to form we stuck to tap water. A full list of Tuscanic‘s suppliers can be found by clicking here.
It didn’t feel like a restaurant trying too hard to create that feeling, it was authentic. People hang around here for a while, this isn’t somewhere that’s going to have a steady flow of people. A small table with a bunch of nattering Italian men crowded around it seemed to be doing more drinking than eating.
We almost over-ordered until our waiter advised us against it – much appreciated. We opted for a Il Misto £10,50/16 designed for sharing – a selection of Tuscan cured meats and cheeses served on a wooden tray along a basket of assorted bread, focaccia and breadsticks. The melt in the mouth meats were very, very good. Ade said the cheese was some of the most intense, full flavoured that he’s had it a long time. He wants to bring a good friend of his so he can share this cheesy appreciation with someone who actually eats the stuff! Regular readers will know that I can’t bear cheese…
Il Panino £6 Tuscan style focaccia stuffed with ham, tomato and dripping in olive oil, oh so simple but lovely, some of my favourite flavours. Ade had the Il Crostone (crostini’s bigger brother) £7, a toasted slice of bread topped with Tomino cheese, bacon, rocket leaves. It came with a little side of chickpeas in olive oil. Ade instantly fell in love with the thinly sliced salty bacon. All this was washed down with a fine glass of Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. – Candialle £7.50. The wine is fairly pricey here, the cheapest bottle of red is £25 for a bottle of La Fagiana.
For dessert I couldn’t resist the Cantucci biscuits and holy wine £5 purely because I have never had holy wine, and probably never will again. Paired the a creamy yet strong Latte, £3, you can tell a lot from a place by the quality of its coffee, and this coffee was top notch. We were’t sure if we had to dip the biscuits into the sweet dessert wine. I did, but Ade dunked them in my latte – how very British of him. Ade had the Tiramisù £5. It didn’t contain the normal soggy coffee soaked biscuits. Instead it was made from lightly whipped mascarpone cheese topped with crunchy biscotti with a sprinkling of cocoa.
We were lucky that the weather, for once, was hot – so we stuck to the lighter dishes. Although we didn’t try any of the salads, green mixed leaf and toasted bread chops served in traditional handmade terracotta pottery. Or when winter returns, a bowl of thick Tuscan soup will warm your cockles. Before you leave Tuscanic, don’t forget to take a little look at the crammed shelves of Tuscan produce. I’m so glad that we visited this charming restaurant. If I ever want to escape the dreary humdrum London greyness, I know exactly where to go to be transported to our beloved Italy…
72 Old Compton Street,
London W1D 4UN
Opening hours: 12:00 – 23:00
Nearest tube: Piccadily Circus or Leicester Square