In recent years, perhaps due to the high number of international students coming to UCLan and living nearby, an increasing number of small, inexpensive restaurants serving popular dishes from around the world have appeared along Plungington Road.
One such place is Tuscany Cafe, a newly established business offering “freshly brewed Italian coffees, cornettos, paninis, cakes, breakfast, and desserts.” My daughter GZ and I went to try it.
Upon entering we were greeted warmly by who we thought was the chef/owner and shown to a table in the window next to a cabinet full of interesting desserts such as cannoli and baklava.
The menu featured a number of mouth-watering dishes, including a village-style Turkish breakfast, which according to the menu consisted of two kinds of jam, two kinds of olives, one of honey, one of molasses with or without tahini, two kinds of cheese, su böreği. (cheese filled with flat dough) or cheese spring roll, kizartma (chips, fried turkish pepper, fried tomato, garlic yoghurt), sucuk with fried egg, turkish bread and simit (bagel).
It was £11 pp for a minimum of two people but GZ had already pinned their hopes on a lasagna so I opted for a Cheese and Onion Gozleme for £4 and a portion of Turkish Spring Rolls filled with feta, cottage and mozzarella cheeses, fresh parsley, dill and black pepper for £4.50.
In my experience, a beautifully presented and artfully arranged dish often indicates that its creator took the time and care to ensure that their food was enjoyable. There are of course exceptions to this rule, such as wedding cakes, but it is generally valid.
However, the taste and quality of a small number of certain foods can be successfully considered wonderful, based on their scruffy appearance alone.
Lots of pies that look like Brendan Gleeson turn out gorgeous, as do cakes that look like a medieval peasant shack, or lasagna that looks like someone murdered SpongeBob, because they’re the telltale signs of anything. home made.
GZ’s SpongeBob crime scene lasagna was a gorgeous cheesy yellow-orange color and was served in the individual ceramic dish it was cooked in, giving the crispy, chewy edges we we all love it when we eat and someone else does the dishes. The large portion was intensely herbaceous and filling, so the separate bowl of dressed and colorful side salad was more than enough as a side dish.
My Cheese and Onion Gozleme was good, but more as a side dish than a main course. It went well with lasagna, but if I was eating it on its own, I would have preferred it had a much stronger cheese to balance out the onion.
The large Turkish spring rolls were delicious and crispy with a tangy topping, and the portion alone was enough for me. They were the highlight of the meal for me and I will be back to try the other toppings of garlic sausage, cheese and tomato, and curried chicken and chopped vegetables.
We were too full to try any of the desserts on offer so asked for the bill which totaled an extremely reasonable £17.50 including a glass of pear juice.
Midway through our meals, the chef/owner came to our table to ask if we were enjoying them, and the enthusiasm for the coffee, the staff, and the quality and authenticity of the food was infectious.
On the website, Tuscany Cafe describes itself as “a welcoming place with friendly staff and a cozy atmosphere”, and that’s exactly what they showed us. It’s a cheerful little restaurant serving great value home cooked meals and the kind of small independent business that brightens up a dull day and makes Preston a city where everyone can find their favorite comfort food.
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