Saturday 2 November 2013

Osteria Tufo in Finsbury Park, London

Photo by By: Sunil060902 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
Ever since we've been in North London, for me Finsbury Park has just been a place to take the tube from. Lately, however, I've noticed that the area is undergoing a definite transformation.

Just a stone's throw away from the station is the newly opened Park Theatre, which we are yet to try out, but which has had great reviews for its first season. And a few streets away is an Italian restaurant called Osteria Tufo, which Son had heard good things about, so off we went last Sunday lunchtime to try the place out.

The place is owned by an Italian couple, Paola and Morris, who have over 20 years' experience in the restaurant business, including time spent at Carluccio's.

The shortness of the menu at Osteria Tufo gave me immediate hope for freshly cooked food, as did the simple decor. I and Son's fiancé (still looove saying that!) opted for traditional antipasti of Calamari Fritti, which was beautifully fresh and light, although I would have preferred the dish not to be served in a glass Pyrex dish. That and the cheap paper napkin which lined the dish, really let the presentation down.

The Englishman chose Polpette di Pesce to start. This was delicious tuna and swordfish meatballs served with chill tomato and capers, which tasted delicious. Son had Parmigiaba di Melanzane; oven-baked aubergine with tomato and mozzarella, which he was very happy with.

For mains we girls chose pasta. I had absolutely perfectly cooked ravioli with ricotta and spinach in a gorgonzola sauce, while Son's girlfriend had flat pasta with sausage meat and truffle oil. We all agreed this was the best dish of the day,with the meat tender and the truffle adding a beautiful scent of a rain soaked woodland. (Or perhaps it's the Finn in me that thinks of forests when eating anything with fungi in it?)

The boys had meat in the form of Porchetta, 'Savoury pork roast of Italian culinary tradition, layers of stuffing meat fat and skin.' Not something I would have chosen, but the Englishman said the taste delivered on a much higher level than its description.

For puddings the others shared a Babba Napoletano, a dish that came highly recommended. The sweet baked sourdough was indeed melt-in-the-mouth as was the dessert I always opt for, if it's on the menu: Affogato. Here they serve it with two scoops of ice-cream, but I asked for just one, because for me, the espresso needs to be the star of the dish. The staff were more than happy to oblige.

For the wines we chose a Sicilian house red, and a Gavi for the white. Both bottles were of excellent quaffing quality with a price tag to match. The whole meal came to £125.20 (for four, including a couple of beers to start), which I think is pretty good value for London.

This is beautifully executed traditional Italian food, with friendly, unfussy service. A simple task, you might say, but it's so very rarely achieved even by the big names in the industry.

We will definitely go back Osteria Tufo, if only to take Daughter who couldn't join us this time. This local Italian will also be the perfect place to shelter from bad weather when the tubes and trains are out of action. Here's hoping for some more storms and snow this winter. (Only joking)

Osteria Tufo
67 Fonthill Road
London N4 3HZ
Tel 020 7272 2911

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