Hotel restaurants don’t often have a good reputation, but we defy you not to be charmed by this light and airy cicchetti restaurant in Victoria. Tozi is part of the Park Plaza Hotel, but thanks to a separate entrance and its self-assured identity, you’d easily forget that you just have to head up the stairs for a quick nap.
Popular with Victoria’s throngs of suits and pre-theatre diners (the restaurant is only a short walk away from both the Apollo and Victoria Palace theatres), Tozi is a bright and modern space, featuring whitewashed walls and high ceilings, while smart finishing touches see marble streaked tables and mustard yellow banquettes.
The interiors might be a tick-box exercise of modern trends, but the food menu is entirely traditional, and it’s all the better for it. Naturally, all meals here kick off with a selection of breads, including pillowy soft chunks of focaccia with a balsamic dip. Next up, move between small plates and a few larger sharing dishes – think tempura-battered spears of asparagus served with a delectable blob of truffle aioli, or a doughy pizzetta with charred edges, topped with tomato, baby spinach, dollops of fresh goat cheese and a smattering of pine nuts.
The pasta selection at Tozi is short, but well considered. On our visit, we were most impressed by a plate of three supremely buttery ravioli dumplings, filled with sweet buffalo ricotta and flecked with earthy black truffle shavings.
The all-Italian wine selection is a punchy prospect, but fun cocktails offer a cheaper way in to the drinks list. Desserts stick to the classics too, seeing an Amalfi lemon tart paired with an equally as mouth-puckering scoop of raspberry sorbet, while a sfogliata is essentially a mini Jenga tower of snappy pastry, warm chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. Come to think of it, we might need that nap after all.