My friend Gina always discovers some of the best spots in London for a good meal and in the last couple of years we have been dining out together to try out some of these spots of good food. Usually, given our heritage, we go for Italian.
The latest place we checked out was Tozi, a ‘cicchetti’ (Venetian tapas) restaurant near my old beloved Queen Mother Sport Centre, a few minutes walk from Victoria station. A very bright and open space venue with a great looking bar which unfortunately, thanks to central London traffic, I missed out on.
The waitress explained what the sharing concept was – we might have not needed this, but yet we listened and decided to share a few dishes from the extensive menu. Extensive and geographically varied too: dishes from the North all the way to the South, without particularly focusing on a particular region or area, despite the name ‘tozi’ being Venetian dialect for ‘friends’.
Fried calamari and courgette strips were crispy and lightly fried. Testun cheese aged in Barolo intense and with a deep flavour. Parmigiana di melanzane was not bad at all, and it is not an easy dish to get right in my Neapolitan opinion.
We shared two pasta dishes, very different from each other. Hand made gnocchi with ox cheek ragou was simply delicious, with melt in your mouth gnocchi and meat, both soft textures but yet very balanced.
The other, a summery Paccheri di Gragnano with tomato sauce, were just like I would make at home. Real, rustic flavours. The right cooking time, a fresh, sweet and rich but light sauce, beautifully red.
The dish that maybe was the less exceptional was a pizzetta with spicy salami. Nothing wrong with it, but not as memorable as the other dishes.
We both drank a glass of the house prosecco, attractively priced at £4. My only criticism would be that it was served in a boring water glass. It might be on tap prosecco, but the glass is wrong, if only for the fact that is a bubbly drink and requires the right shaped vessel.
All our waiting staff were Italians – to me always a good sign in an Italian restaurant.
Absolutely loved Tozi, so thank you Gina for introducing me to yet another great find.
8 Gillingham Street, London
I ate calamari, mea culpa. I did not like seeing swordfish on the menu, highly endangered in Italy, a 3 on the Good Fish Guide. Will ask more info next time!