I was more than pleasantly surprised by my dining experience at newly opened Venetian bar and restaurant, Tozi, Victoria.

We started off our Monday evening with a ‘Sexy Sofia’ cocktail at the bar where many black and white framed photos of Italian scenes adorned the walls. Following our cocktails we were then offered ‘Frizzenti’ Prosecco on tap with our nuts and juicy olives.

After working up quite an appetite with all the fizz, we were then moved to a candlelit table in the main restaurant. They certainly know how to do decor. Think ‘slick meets rustic’. Sounds strange but if you go you’ll know what I mean. Minimalist, contemporary but rustic decor with food served on wooden platters by candlelight and ice buckets. Adding to the relaxed yet ‘special occasion’ atmosphere was the fact that it was really quite busy for aMonday night. I’d say around 75% of the restaurant was dining by the time we sat down to eat.

(photo: ravioli with buffalo ricotta and black truffle)

The concept at Tozi is Venetian; you order ‘cicchetti’, small(ish) Italian plates to share, I suppose like Tapas. Even though it’s a Venetian style concept, I notice the dishes on the menu come from all over Italy. The word Tozi I’m explained by Velio, the Sardinian and very accommodating manager, means ‘friends’. After being recommended by Velio to try around three plates each (to start off with), we choose up to four plates each, which takes a while as the menu is abundant and varied and everything sounds delicious! We order a bottle of white, Fiano and sip away over more chatting, while waiting for our ‘cicchetti’ to be rustled up in the kitchen which looks out on the main restaurant.

And then the cichetti start to arrive…Fritto Misto including red prawns, crab, squid and sardines, Spianata, a type of small pizza covered generously with ricotta, smoked pancetta and aubergines, Ravioli of Buffalo Ricotta with Black Truffle, Porchetta, Fennel and Rocket, Spaghetti allo Scoglio, with Sicilian prawns, clams mussels, crab, squid, garlic and chilli (photo above), Wild Boar Salami from Umbria and many many more plates. But the one I was most impressed about was the Aubergine Parmigiana. Just THE best I’ve had in London to date. You see I make a pretty damn good Parmigiana if I do say so myself, it’s my speciality dish. So traditionally if it’s on the menu I need to test it. And so far I have to say I’ve always been disappointed. I was pretty sure that again I wouldn’t be that impressed, ordering such a well known dish from the South in a Venetian style restaurant made by Northern Italian chefs, afterall even in some Neapolitan restaurants I feel disappointed! but…just sensational. I’m planning to go back just for that alone! (below) Compliments to the chefs! including Daniele the executive chef from Venice, who we were introduced to on the evening.

And to finish off, a selection of desserts including a Chocolate delice, with hazelnut, and coconut sorbet and a round or two of Limoncello, served by one of the fantastically funny (and I believe one of the very popular) waiters Rafael.

Dishes are priced from around £4-15 each, so you won’t break the bank but you will receive first class service, enjoy the surroundings and mostly importantly..the food.

Tozi, 8 Gillingham Street, SW1
0207 769 9771