Friday by Friday I’m munching my way through all the Italians around Stroud Green and yet after half a dozen I’m still not done! As the proprietor of the WB Yeats noted, there are more pizzerias in N4 per square inch than there are in Naples! But Osteria Tufo is no pizzeria (they don’t serve it), in fact its offering is a cut above your standard pizza/pasta place and is well worth the detour round the back of Finsbury Park tube.
I did well to pop in in person earlier in the evening to reserve as the booking for 7 o’clock was only confirmed after the waitress consulted with her manager and phoned me back. Fonthill Road is not the most picturesque in north London but OT does its best to prettify it with a profusion of foliage out front on the terrace. The room itself is small but open and light. It feels a comfortable place.
We weren’t sure of how much starter to get – I guess we could have asked how substantial they were – and decided to split a salad and some baby octopus between the four of us. The salad of mixed grilled vegetables was tasty but not enough for our purposes. The octopus on the other hand was a generous helping of very tasty babies that I would have consumed as Saturn would devour his own childers if they’d all been left to me.
The mains were a mixture of Italian classics and some more left-field options. Everyone was jealous of the squid ink pasta with seafood. I had a hefty chunk of cod cooked in a delicious soy and sesame sauce. The house white worked very well with all this and we had more wine on top of more wine. Everyone very convivial, including the staff, and thus was I tempted to take on dessert.
My espresso chocolate cup was thick and sticky but not half as enjoyable as the very high quality grappa that came alongside it. I approached it through sniffing. I’ve been hoodwinked by grappa before – sometimes it promises subtlety at first sniff but then just clubs you in the gob and leaves you with heartburn and a headache. Like the Margi Clarke of alcohol. This one not only had the required alcoholic ferocity but also a subtle fruity taste that for one brief moment made me feel that I could be in a Paolo Sorrentino film if only I took on a more world weary demeanour. Like La Fabrica around the corner Osteria Tufo offers West End quality at N4 prices. Recommended.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).