Tuscanic Merende is a newish (it opened in the summer) gem on Old Compton street in Soho. It’s a place that positively oozes Italy (and in particular Tuscany), all the cheerful staff hail from Italy and the walls are lined with imported Tuscan produce. Indeed, I am reliably informed that even the floor is imported from Tuscany!
The place is small and charming, with an open bar/kitchen where the chefs busily create charcuterie and cheese boards, small soups and Italian style taps. Toscano Merende literally translates along the lines of “Tuscan snack” and that is essentially what this place offers – anything from coffee and dolci to wine and cheese of an evening pre or post-theatre perhaps. The food is also ideally aimed at sharing with friends, being of the small-plate variety.
On our visit it was 5pm on a saturday which was definitely vino o’clock. My friends opted for a delicious glass of house red and I went for a coffee which was expertly executed – a strong and rich americano served in a tall glass with the perfect amount of frothy crema on top, with the rather nice addition of 3 giant chocolate buttons to nibble on the side. Having revived myself with a coffee we then shared a charcuterie and cheese board together with some pickled mushrooms and fresh crusty bread. It was simple, honest food, but it hit the spot.
Unfortunately on this occasion we didn’t have the time to try anything else, but I know I’ll be back. What attracts me to this place in addition to its authenticity is the fact that it seems to be (for the moment at least) a hidden gem amongst the bustle of Soho, a perfect hideaway on a busy afternoon’s shopping or pre or post-theatre in the evenings. One of those places that I always hope to find in Soho but usually have to settle for somewhere busier. It’s also great that its offerings span the day from pastries, cakes and coffees, through to lunch plates and wine and more substantial snacks, with produce available to take away too.
A find that I would recommend.
Address: 72 Old Compton Street, Soho
Getting there – Oxford Circus/Piccadilly Tube
Go for: snacks to break a hectic London day
don’t go for: expecting a pizzeria, this is gourmet Tuscany in london
Value: Reasonable for central London – coffees around the £2 mark with wine at around £4-£6 a glass