Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Tuscanic: A Nice Place for a Date

In Soho, the cool, desirable places are often ones that take no reservations so if you decide to go to dinner on a whim, it’s often difficult to actually get in anywhere. So it’s nice to have somewhere that you can actually get a seat and that’s quite new but it’s not somewhere that the foodies are queuing around the block for. And Tuscanic is exactly that. Perhaps because there’s not a wacky gimmick, or because there’s not a big name chef involved, or perhaps it’s just not been vigorously over-hyped on Twitter, but if you walk past at peak time, you can probably get a table, despite its location on Old Compton Street. Not to say that it’s completely dead, it’s just not got MEATLiquor or Pitt Cue-esqe-queues. Or anywhere-Time-Out-has-mentioned-queues.

But it’s buzzy enough, and as I was walking around Soho a few weeks ago with a date, desperately trying to find somewhere that would hopefully impress him and somewhere that didn’t have a queue. This ruled out 10 Greek Street, Duck Soup et. al and the only other option was Ed’s Easy Diner, somewhere which didn’t fill me with overwhelming joy.

So we walked into Tuscanic and it was half-full and smelled nice. The wait staff are a little eccentric, but in a rather endearing way, especially the guy wearing a jaunty trilby (out of choice, apparently). Oddly, we were asked if we wanted the wine list (‘Yes!’ I said a little too quickly. I was nervous) – isn’t that a given in a place like that? – but I can’t really begrudge them that. We ordered the ‘Il Misto’ – a plate of cured meats and cheeses. Said be-hatted waiter attempted to dissuade us from ordering a small one, his face creased in genuine concern/trying to upsell – ‘it’s very small’. But we took our chance, not being particularly hungry. His measuring of ‘small’ was different to that of Polpo, Barrafina or any of those truly small-plates establishments.

It was quite enough, and a pretty decent size, considering it was supposed to be a snack. It was only about £8 (£10 for the large if I remember correctly). There are four different types of cured meats (salami, Italian ham etc) and an interesting selection of cheeses, none of which I’d ever seen (I think the cheese in the pot was a ricotta which was deliciously creamy). 

The wine list is short but reasonably priced (the price being my only criteria, as per), but the wine was good.

It’s not somewhere for a formal dinner, it’s for a catch-up with friends, or a casual date. But more importantly, it's not ridiculously oversubscribed and it's not majorly expensive either.

I’m not sure they need the ‘concept’ tab on their website, though. It’s a Tuscan cafe that serves little crostinis, foccacia with meats and cheeses and wine. That's pretty much it.

Tuscanic Merende on Urbanspoon


  1. I liked this place too. Nice and simple. Good people watching too (LOADS of dates)... was he impressed?

    1. He was! I'll definitely be going back again.



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