Tuscanic is a rather smart deli, sarnie stop and wine bar on Old Compton Street. It's quite an unlikely new opening for the area these days, but a smart nod to the area’s Italian heritage, intentional or not.
They specialise in meats and cheeses, either in paninis or focaccias, or as platters to be had with wine. It’s quiet and could probably do with some music, but the vibe is nice. There is a quaint, artisanal feel to nibbling on hams and cheeses with be-aproned Italians carving away amongst jars of ever-unsold, overpriced pestos.
Our mixed selection at about £18 came with a huge dish of ricotta and some bread too. The part sheep, part goat cheese was a highlight, although salty chunks of parmesan and nutty pecorino always hit the spot too. Hits on the meat front were the delicious fennel-scented folds of finocchiona and pepper-specked salami. I was less keen on the slices of beef terrine which were more Pedigree Chum than Piedmont, but never mind.
The wine selection is Northern Italian dominated, and pretty good value for W1. We were on the prosecco so I didn’t try any Super Tuscans. Crowd is mixed: plenty of gays on first dates which are quite fun to spy on, and multitudes of Italian tourists and expats, who being Italian typically only like Italian things.
It sounds a bit TripAdvisor and provincial to say so, but Tuscanic does feel ‘continental’ and despite the staid vibes, is a refreshingly different place to come. We could do with more Roman-style enotecas which offer snacks on barrels, wine tastings and the like.
I suspect this is the sort of gaff the Licencing Act 2003 assumed we’d be in, sipping wine and pinkie waving up and down the country post-theatre, the Act itself having probably been written during a romanticised Chiantishire stupor. Never mind that we’re only doing this in 2013 in Soho then. But progress all the same...