Italian Adventures - Tuscanic and Gelupo

I'll let you in on a little secret; this is one of the best Italian Restaurants in London. Fact. I can say that with conviction not because I've eaten at all the Italian establishments in London (although it is my mission to try!) but having lived in Italy, specifically Tuscany, I can certify this is some of the most authentic, well sourced Italian food I've eaten in the UK.

Unlike my other favourite Italian, Bocca de Lupo on Archer Street which shares goods from all across Italy, Tuscanic has a traditional concept based solely on Tuscan specialties and ingredients. All the food, wine, preserves and sweets are sourced directly from artisans and small producers from across Tuscany. Quality and tradition are at the heart of their ethos; cured meats from San Miniato, oils and vinegar from Reggello, everything is high quality and truly, truly Tuscan.

I discovered this place not long after I moved to London, on one of the 'exploring Soho' sessions that I used to go on during my free hours. I saw they sold Bresaola, my favourite of the cured meats and I was hooked in an instant. I've been here for lunch, for dinner, even for a drunken snack when I've had too much wine and can't bear the thought of getting the bus. To make it better, the staff are a delight, even at those times when I've been unable to type my PIN into the machine!!

The food, as you can imagine, is beyond excellent. Simple Tuscan fayre with a lengthy menu of choices from sharing platters - il Misto and il Panino (thick, soft Tuscan style focaccia stuffed with meats, cheese and vegetables) to il Dolce (Home-style Tiramisu, Ricotta mousse) and my very favourite the 'Pistocchi chocolate cake'. The prices are fair, with most dishes coming in at £6 and sharing platters either £10 for a small plate or £16 between two or three. For a big dinner you may want to get a sandwich and a salad as we did but you'll certainly come out with change from £20.

On my walk to the bus, I stuck with the Italian vibe for a little pot of dreams at Gelupo. If you haven't heard of this place, you need to educate yourself quickly. Actual, proper gelato not the "gelato" so many places offer, slap bang in the middle of Archer Street with beautiful blue awning. Italian flavours like swirled lemon curd and chocolate ricotta with black pepper make for a difficult choice when you're limiting yourself to a small cup. I could easily have a large with ALL the flavours! They do of course offer the more traditional pistachio and 'milk’ flavours too. Now surely you don't need any more convincing, so get yourself down to Soho for some Italian lovin'.

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