Tuscanic is a lovely Italian deli-café right in the middle of Soho. More relaxed than a restaurant, but with much better food than a bar or coffee shop, it's a great addition to the Soho scene.
The café follows the old Italian concept of merende – a snack break. Sitting at a table by the busy counter, we could tell that Italian Londoners have taken to it as they order, chat and joke with the friendly waiters in their native tongue.
And it’s clear to see why they love it. Deli ingredients are imported direct from Tuscany and prepared to authentic recipes on the premises. We started with Tuscan bread soups served in handmade terracotta bowls. Pappa al pomodoro was garlicky and delicious like a liquid bruschetta , and ribollita , a hearty vegetable mix, took me back to the childhood on a Tuscan farm that I never had.
We followed this with a charcuterie and cheese board. The waiter explained that Tuscan bread is made without salt and instead the salt is to be found in the accompaniments. The meats were delicious with special mention going to the fennel-infused finnochiona . The cheeses were a lovely selection of soft goat, creamy ewe’s milk and a sharp pecorino di fossa . A tip – order some honey and homemade fig chutney to complement the flavours.
That was already plenty for a merende, but the Tuscan style sandwiches looked too good to miss. The plump and flavourful panini were more generously stuffed than many I’d had in Italy. The crostini was like an Italian grilled cheese, much tastier of course than its English counterpart.
As you can imagine, all this is much better when washed down with some delicious Italian vino. With only a dozen or so on the wine list and all imported from Tuscany, you can’t make a bad choice. We enjoyed the red Brunello , a great accompaniment to cheese and a Lodi white which had gravelly and citrus tones in equal measure. All are available by the glass as well as the bottle, perfect for an eatery that doesn’t stand on ceremony.
Tuscanic is perfect when you want to relax. You’ll get a friendly reception whether you’re stopping in for an afternoon coffee break alone, refuelling the kids, enjoying a catch-up with friends or having a romantic evening over a glass of Chianti . You don’t need to order loads or stay for hours, but most likely you’ll want to.
Written by Liz Mundy