Rustic, relaxed and quaint –  three little words you wouldn’t usually associate with Soho but nestled amongst the neon lights of Old Compton Street lies Italian restaurant Tuscanic.

 Upon entering, the understated restaurant exudes a welcoming ambience. Pale yellow walls, wooden seating, tiled flooring and ornate pots and pans decorate the space, instantly transporting you to a Tuscan kitchen – an important feature Managing Director Simone Crepaldi and social media editor Simone Palermo wanted to emphasise with the decor “We wanted to bring traditional Tuscan cuisine and wines to London in 2012. Everything from the utensils, to the light and smell, reflect the typical Tuscany environment.”

 The elegant, concise menu includes a variety of Tuscan focaccia breads, charcuterie, cocktails, beer and fine wines.

 We started the rounds with ‘I Panini’ cured meats, warm and fluffy focaccia breads and ‘I Crostini’ toasted sliced breads garnished with baked tomatoes and cheeses. The real winner were the zinging flavours and texture of the toasted breads and richness of the meats. “Our selection of meats and breads are all fresh, no additives. We have exclusivity of the focaccia bread from a particular bakery, therefore the only ones that can serve it” M.D Simone tells us; we knew there was something distinct about these starters!

 Though hesitant on the “daring” raw beef tartare choice, Simone had confirmed it was perfectly safe to eat and also happened to be one of their most popular dishes “The beef tartare is made from very good quality beef – Chianina, with no fat. We get it directly from Tuscany with a certificate of excellence”. Reassurance done, devouring commenced! The taste was pleasant with an interesting meaty, doughy texture, normalised by the conventional burger buns, mustard, rocket and tomato fillings and the crispy roasted potatoes. Definitely one for all burger addicts looking for an alternative fix!

 Dessert was the gluten free “Pistocchi” chocolate cake and homemade ricotta cheesecake. The cheesecake didn’t really leave a lasting impression but the chocolate cake confirmed its award winning status.

 After enjoying some of the cuisine, It was clear that Tuscanic wasn’t one to be pigeonholed as just ‘another Italian restaurant’ “Our quality of traditional original food, the passion behind it, to the competitive prices differentiates us from all other restaurants, not just Italian. We also have products for purchase such as our sauces, jellies etc. from only £7.”

Mounted beautifully on open shelves around the restaurant, are an assortment of condiments on full display, should diners want to take a bit of the restaurant home with them.  Though from Italy, the Tuscan cuisine is very different from the usual Italian cuisine, something social media editor Simone is able to relay via the restaurant’s strong social media presence. “It’s important to talk to clients to invite them to the restaurant. Many people can’t differentiate between the usual Italian and Tuscan cuisine and there’s a huge difference.”

 With the success of their only store, could we see another Tuscanicrestaurant opening? A franchise even? “We’re focusing on London by October and will hopefully expand as much as we can, whilst keeping the essence of the brand” M.D Simone tells us. For all the drinks aficionados, it looks like the restaurant will also be extending their ever growing wine list “We’re looking to include some wines from neighbors around Tuscany and around italy. Of course we will always look for quality”.

 So why should our readers visit Tuscanic? Apart from it being a favourite of actor Stanley Tucci (Devil Wears Prada, Hunger Games)Tuscanic is a charming, affordable eatery with impressive customer service. The perfect spot for those looking for an unconventional cuisine that pays homage to its rich traditional culinary culture.

 Be sure to catch their Happy Hour –  where you can buy any alcoholic drink you get free foods* all year around! (see website for more details)

 Price – Approx. £30-£40 per person for starters, drinks, mains and desert.