Eat Here: Tozi Restaurant, VictoriaBy Angelica Malin
Sometimes, all you want is Italian food. The mood gets you, and it’s all you can think about. One grey, rainy Tuesday, I had a craving for aubergine parmigiana and simply nothing else would do the trick – I knew I had to have it. But in the spirit of journalism and discovery, I’m on a lifetime ban of going to the same place twice, so I couldn’t go to my favourite local Italian. So off we trotted to Tozi Restaurant in Victoria (which, as everyone keeps telling me, is *totally* up and coming) in search of parmigiana perfection – and I’m pleased to say we found it, and, so, so much more. I think Tozi is one of my favourite new Italian restaurants in London, and here’s why:
One word: cool. Tozi is all about old school Italian glamour – it’s laid-back, and seriously vibey, with old movies playing on the wall and a low-lit, trendy bar. A Venetian-Italian restaurant and bar, nested in the heart of Victoria, Tozi clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s worth crossing town for the food – the beautiful food is all designed to share, created by Chefs Maurilio and Daniele, the feast of cicchetti will amaze you. There’s also an all-Italian wine list, bubbles on tap, classic Italian cocktails and Venetian aperitivi – so really, you can’t go wrong. There’s something about the place – it’s just got a great energy, and it’s a fantastic spot to come and share great value Italian food with friends and family.
The food is beyond delicious – and the menu isn’t overwhelmingly long, perfect if you’re like me, and get seriously food envy. Start with one of their dishes from the wood oven – the bruschetta with squash, dried tomatoes and fresh goat’s cheese is a beautiful take on a classic dish, given a new life with creamy, delicious goat’s cheese.
For something deliciously different, try the pizetta – a mini pizza – with mozzarella, sprouting broccoli and ‘Ndjua. ‘Ndjua, a spreadable sausage (needs to be tried to be believed) is very fashionable right now as an ingredient – taste this dish and you’ll see why. If you like traditional Italian fried foods (which are great with an Aperol spritz), try the zucchini – these morsels of fried goodness are so delicious.
Now, it’s time to move over to the salads – they are a real menu highlight. You might like Italian food is all pizza, pasta and cheese – but not here. Oh no, not here. At Tozi, healthy and fresh food is given a focus too, and, in fact, their salads are some of the best things at the restaurant. Try the avocado, parmesan, radish and baby gem salad – it’s an uncomplicated dish, that just sings of fresh flavours and nature’s goodness.
Their tuna tartare with chilli, lime and rocket is simply divine – the perfect balance of flavours, which goes so well with the avocado salad. And, of course, you can’t go to an Italian restaurant and not order mozarella – that would be criminal. Probably the best dish on the entire menu is most simple – Burrata, heritage tomatoes and basil. Seriously, how could you go wrong? Just. So. Good.
Again, it would be wrong to come to an Italian restaurant and not sample pasta, right? So, for research purposes, we dive into their Buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle, which is probably the most silky, flavoursome morsel of pasta I’ve ever tried. At £8.50 for three pieces, they could probably be a bit more generous – but you cannot fault the flavours or skill of cooking in the slightest. Their aubergine parmigiana is also seriously good (if not also slightly on the small side) – but it tastes as good as any you’d find in Italy, and really hits the spot.
Not content with the amount of dairy we had consumed thus far, we sway away from the desserts and head straight for the cheese board. It is, of course, to die for and we happily eat ourselves into a cheese coma, knowing I’ve formally done all my “research” and there’s no element of the menu undiscovered. I can report it’s all very, very good news.
Alongside the food, TOZI Bar features a range of classic and contemporary cocktails, including the signature TOZI Spritz, home-made barrel-aged Negroni and Amaro TOZI served “straight from the barrel” as well bubbles on tap. Their wine menu is all-Italian, including some niche small producers and delicious biodynamic wines from across the country’s regions. What’s more, you can enjoy the full cicchetti menu at the bar, any time of the day, ideal for a mid-afternoon snack or after work drinks with friends and colleagues
Tozi is just so, so good. Everything is spot on – from the conception of the sharing menu, to their beautiful bright salads and handmade pastas, I’m not sure you could find better Italian food in London if you tried. Next time the craving for aubergine parmigiana strikes, make this your Italian restaurant of choice.
Photo Credits: Paul Winch-Furness
Tozi is at 8 Gillingham St, London SW1V 1HJ