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Review: Get filled with the joy of spring rolls at this welcoming Plungington cafe

Posted on - 2nd September, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink, Opinion, Plungington, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, What's On in Preston
Tuscany Cafe in Plungington Road
Tuscany Cafe in Plungington Road

In recent years, perhaps owing to the high number of students from overseas who come to UCLan and live close by, increasing numbers of small, cheap eateries serving popular foods from around the world have appeared along Plungington Road.

One such place is Tuscany Cafe, a recently established business offering ‘freshly brewed Italian coffees, cornetto, panini, cakes, breakfast and desserts’, so my daughter GZ and I went to try it out.

On entering, we were given a warm greeting by who we assumed was the chef/owner and shown to a table in the window next to a cabinet filled with interesting desserts such as cannoli and baklava.

Tuscany Cafe desserts cabinet
Next time

The menu had a number of tempting items, including a village style Turkish breakfast, which according to the menu consisted of two kinds of jam, two kinds of olive, one honey, one molasses with or without tahini, two kinds of cheese, su böreği (cheese filled with flat pastry) or cheese spring roll, kizartma (chips, fried Turkish pepper, fried tomato, yoghurt with garlic), sucuk with fried egg, Turkish bread, and simit (bagel).

It was £11 per person for a minimum of two people but GZ had already pinned her hopes on a lasagne, so instead I opted for a Gozleme with cheese and onion 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, artfully arranged dish often indicates that its creator has taken time and care to ensure that their food is enjoyable. There are of course exceptions to this rule, such as wedding cakes, but it mostly holds.

However, the taste and quality of a small number of certain foods can be successfully assumed to be marvellous based on scruffy looks alone.

Many a pie that looks like Brendan Gleeson turns out to be magnificent, as do cakes that resemble a mediaeval peasant’s hut, or lasagnes that look like someone’s murdered SpongeBob Squarepants, because they’re the telltale signs of the totally homemade.

GZ’s SpongeBob crime-scene lasagne was a gloriously cheesy yellowy-orange colour, and was served in the individual ceramic dish in which it was baked, resulting in the crispy, chewy edges that we all love when we’re doing the eating and someone else is doing the washing up. The large portion was intensely herby and filling, so the separate bowl of dressed, colourful side salad was more than enough of an accompaniment.

Tuscany Cafe lasagne
SpongeBob NOOooooooo!

My cheese and onion Gozleme was nice, but more of a side dish than a main course. It went well with the lasagne, but if I was eating it on its own I’d have preferred it to contain a much stronger cheese to balance out the onion.

Tuscany Cafe lasagne, salad and Gozleme
It’s healthy because there’s salad

The chunky Turkish spring rolls were lovely and crunchy with a tangy filling, and the portion was enough for me on its own. They were the highlight of the meal for me, and I’ll be coming back to try the other fillings of garlic sausage, cheese and tomato, and curried, minced chicken and vegetables.

Tuscany Cafe spring rolls
Bobby Dazzlers, them

We were too full to try any of the desserts on offer, so we asked for the bill, which in total came to 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 about the cafe, 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 homely atmosphere’, and they showed us exactly that. It’s a cheery little eatery serving great value, home-cooked fare, and the type of small, independent business that brightens up a dull day and makes Preston a city where everyone can find their favourite comfort food.

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Do you get excited over scruffy looking food? Tell us what type in the comments.

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