Tuscanic: A Slice Of Tuscany In The Heart Of Soho
Guest Reporter Will Brown finds a little piece of Italy in a dark corner of Soho…
Tucked away on Old Compton Street, slap-bang in the middle of deepest, darkest Soho amongst the theatres, the trendy boutiques and the somewhat questionable “massage parlours”, lies this delightful rustic retreat where everything is authentically Tuscan, wait staff included.
‘Tuscanic Merende’ translates to something along the lines of ‘Tuscan snack’, and with that you can come to expect exactly what it says on the sign outside (your Italian language skills permitting). Tuscanic is the sort of place you come to appreciate the food, to sip slowly on your wine and to savour the quality of the ingredients. That is to say you should approach the dining experience here in precisely the opposite way you would, say, the Pizza Hut buffet. Its relaxed atmosphere and menu of ‘merenda’ style snacks and sharing platters all add to the informal, communal dining experience that make it the perfect place to come to catch up with friends or relieve the awkwardness of a first date.
There’s no better cliché to describe the interior of this restaurant than ‘rustic charm’. Wooden tables and woven stools are packed into the main dining area while your food is brought out on wooden platters and in handmade terracotta bowls. The back wall is lined with shelves selling imported ingredients featured on the menu, should you want to have a go at recreating the Tuscan dining experience at home for yourself. The food is prepared in front of diners (always a reassuring sign), while the über-passionate Italian waiters are more than happy to explain each dish and give their honest recommendations. For those unable to sample the real-deal in Tuscany, I would imagine this serves as a pretty good alternative.
We began our whistle-stop culinary tour of Tuscany with their bread soups. Mixed vegetables with a breadcrumb base, it’s a curious texture but nonetheless bursting with flavour, and certainly something you’d struggle to find in many other Italian restaurants in London. Next came the charcuterie and cheese board. A selection of cured meats and Tuscan cheeses served with fresh crusty bread, it’s this dish that I would say best embodies the Tuscanic concept; simple, honest food, packed with flavour and served with Italian charm. With a variety of platters in varying sizes, you can manage your meal to suit your appetite. Not quite full yet, we moved onto something a little bigger and tried the ‘Il Crostone’ next: toasted bread topped with a combination of cured meats, cheeses, vegetables and Tuscan-style spreads to your choosing. Served alongside a bowl of chickpeas, the Scamorza cheese, fresh tomato and oregano combination is definitely recommended.
Cheese lovers, meat lovers, wine lovers: Tuscanic is the place for you. A hidden gem amidst the bustle of Soho, it is the perfect place to retreat for great food in a great environment. With a vast menu yet to try, not least their coffees and deserts, we definitely hope to be returning very soon.
Will @ FashionBite xx