I detect something exciting and innovative in the restaurant scene. For the last 20 years it has been driven by celebrity chefs. Now new vistas are opening. I already praised, as have many, Mr Wong for its combination of street food and haute cuisine, in offering Hong Kong Chinese in a new format. Yesterday I went round the corner to Tozi which serves cicchette , best described as tapas, based on Venetian cuisine. The restaurant has been attracting rave reviews and is packed to the rafters every night. Just as well, as its huge modern air space needs filling. The space is itself innovative as traditionally the old trattoria , again based on a chef owner, tends to pack in the tables. I do object to have a neighbour’s backside in my linguine as he manoeuvres between the tight tables for two!!
At Tozi my companion, a local from Victoria in the charity/educational world, and I had all the space in the world. He knew the restaurant better than I do so I left the ordering mainly to him. Being Venetian cucina, I went for fish dishes: calamari fritti, an old favourite which I could cross compare, and their signature dish of baked scallops, both passed the Daffers test with flying colours. To this we had a small pizza, a ravioli, zucchini and spedina, a sort of enchilada. We finished with a scrumptious affogato, ice cream covered in coffee granules.
The frontiers of flavours were definitely pushed back as chefs Maurilio and Daniele have really created something fresh and innovative. It’s located in a hotel in Gillingham Street near Victoria, so maybe they got a deal as Westminster Business rates make huge spaces uneconomic.
Having the viral cough that is doing the rounds at National Rust I was happy to absteem from alcohol, which resulted in a most reasonable bill of £50 for two.
Unlike Milan, Florence and Rome I have been disappointed by Venetian restaurants, all the more surprising as a few years ago Susanna, who ran a cookery school holidays, invited me to Venice to one. I was impressed by the chef and cuisine, not to mention the attention a younger Daffers received from the dashing gondoliere in the Grand Canal who serenaded me!!!
I am delighted to report that this cuisine has now been successfully transported to the less maritime environs of Pimlico…. and, the way my Ollie is soon snoring, I would not mind a lusty 22 year old gondoliere there either!!!!