Alan Stanford visits
3 Cork Hill, Dame Street, Dublin 2. Phone 670 9785
City Life, Irish Independent,
Toscana is on Dame Street
so don't be confused by the address. It is well designed, well laid
out, warm and inviting and offers Italian cuisine at reasonable prices.
Being Italian, and Daniel, my eldest, being one who has always been
inclined towards Italian food, we went together for our usual debate
about politics and Tolkien.
We were welcomed like friends
and offered a table in smoking and the menu. Daniel, being expert in
that field took the wine list. There was nothing hugely impressive,
but a good mix of Italian and new world and almost all at reasonable
On the menu, starters ran
from €2.50 for garlic bread up to €9.50. There was the usual list of
pasta dishes at an average price of €12. There were dishes for the main
course of chicken, meat and fish all in the usual Italian-style and
priced at an average of €18.00 and there were, of course, pizzas.
The room has a simple, yet
stylish decor in terracotta, cream and wood with black chairs and tables,
which I must admit, were comfortable if just a little small.
Daniel, who has remarkably
set habits for one so young, opted for the suppli to start - golden
croquette of mozzarella and rice with a garlic dip.
Cannelloni was his choice
for a main dish. For myself, a Caesar salad to start and the filetto
di manzo to follow - 80z medallions of fillet beef with pepper
sauce. All main dishes come with a choice of salad, french fries
or baked potato. We both went for the salad.
To drink, Daniel selected
the Barolo, a 1997. For some reason, Barolo is always relatively
expensive for the wine you get. It's a big wine, or should be,
but this was neither quite big enough nor satisfying enough for
the price - €38.50
The waiters were incredibly
efficient and extremely friendly.The Caesar salad, though good
enough, was not as sharp to the palate as it might have been.
As to the suppli, it was, according to Daniel, fairly good and
there was certainly a generous portion.
After further debate on
the futility of socialism and his detennination to pursue it actively,
we moved on to the far more interesting topic of Tolkien. He didn't
just write those movies you know! I doubt if any writers other than
Shakespeare, Dickens and Becket, cause more debate and discussion than
Tolkien. But then, I suppose that everyone needs a fantasy world now
and again and Middle Earth is better than most.
The main dishes were served
with great aplomb by our charming waiter. The cannelloni made itself
known by its aroma even before it made it to the table. Daniel positively
salivated at the smell. It looked good enough to be homemade and it
tasted even better. Certainly, it was well filled with a good sauce,
which was properly seasoned and firm pasta.
All in all, deeply satisfying
comfort food, which is what it should be. The beef was very tender and
very tasty. It came dressed in a pepper sauce. Generally, as you know,
I am not one for sauces on good beef, but this proved to be a perfect
accompaniment to the meat. Not too thick, not too thin, not too peppery
and certainly not bland, all of which so often happens.
The accompanying salads
had a good mix of leaves and were as fresh and as crunchy as a
good salad should be. With the food and the talk we had finished
the Barolo, unsatisfied by it, and so, knowing that desserts were
in the offing, we went for a second red wine.
This time a Primitivo
Salento 2000 and it proved to be a very good choice indeed. Not
heavy, but full of fruit and length and I could drink it all night.
I mentioned the desserts.
Dolci all are priced at €4.95 and the list has some evil temptations
on it. Daniel, without any shame or hesitation, took the chocolate
fudge cake. I thought I might be a little more circumspect but
gave way, after a serious struggle of more than 15 seconds, and
took the Trufito, this being dairy chocolate ice cream with chocolate
sauce and chocolate amaretto biscuit. Let's face it; there was
a lot of chocolate on the table. Both desserts proved to excellent
and rich and very filling! We rounded off with coffee.
Daniel took a mocha which,
the waiter insisted, he had personally made and, if let, would probably
have added that he had milked the cow as well as roasting the beans,
both cocoa and coffee! My espresso was strong and rich in flavour, another
Our meal for two with two
bottles of wine came to €112.10, excluding service, which was reasonable
The food was wholesome and
Italian in all the best ways. The service was delightful and the room
a very pleasant place to eat and sit and talk. Just what an Italian
restaurant should be.