Tozi Restaurant and Bar
8 Gillingham St, Pimlico, London SW1V 1HJ
“Tozi” means “bunch of friends” in Venetian dialect. This is exactly the ambience that TOZI seeks and achieves. Venice born Daniele Pampagnin came up with the concept for TOZI back in 2013. His good friend Head Chef Maurilio Molteni joined him and has since taken charge of designing the menu and running the day to day of the restaurant. As a result, TOZI brings together the experience and passion of these two Italians who have worked in some of the most celebrated dining establishments in London, including Carluccio’s Neal Street Restaurant, Cecconi’s, Soho House and Shoreditch House.
The Cicchetti menu (small sharing plates “tapas” style) is the star of the show, offering fabulous dishes that show off Molteni’s obsession with sourcing and supporting Italian producers. Actually most of their cheeses and cured meats come from small producers in the Piedmont and their olive oil is a special blend from Puglia.
While ordering our food, we thought we’d try a couple of their celebrated cocktails. We had a refreshing and light Tozi Spritz and an Ambassador, a strong, masculine drink that will certainly put hairs on your chest! The coffee beans added to it bring a very interesting and distinctive flavour.
All dishes we ordered were presented with great care and attention to detail; one could feel the pride of the Chef in each and every one of them. The plates themselves felt reassuringly heavy, which to me, always adds to the dining experience –am I the only one that cares about this?
The pizzetta with Taleggio and walnuts was surprisingly light, and the combination of the taleggio cheese, the mushrooms and the walnuts was simply beautiful.
My wife’s favourite dish was the soft Pecorino di pienza and tomato jam, which she described as dangerously moreish. Golden breadcrumbs and lovely cheese complimented by the jam, which wasn’t too sweet at all. We could have had so much more of it!
We also thoroughly enjoyed the cauliflower with truffle mayo, the bresaola with parmesan and lemon, the burrata and tomato and the aubergine Parmigiana, but the dish I’d recommend to anyone is the buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle. I can’t find the words to describe this melt-in-the-mouth dish. Just trust me and try it as soon as you can.
This was all washed down with a bottle of Primitivo del Salento, Boheme. Not the most expensive wine but just perfect for the Cicchetti menu we ordered.
For dessert we had the Pistachio Tiramisu, light, creamy and with a tantalizing flavour and the Chocolate and Amaretto Bonet, so lightly textured, so delightful to the palate.
Despite all the food we wolfed down, we didn’t feel stuffed at all. We could have actually gone dancing afterwards. In my experience, this is a testimony to a great chef who has carefully selected and balanced all the dishes in the restaurant menu.
Last, I must mention that despite its urban, modern appearance, the evening we had dinner at TOZI, the place felt warm and cozy, probably thanks to the friendly staff and the nostalgia served up by the old black an white Italian movie playing in the background (I later learnt it was Fellini’s I vitelloni).
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