*Please note that this was written before I turned vegan*
Spoiler alert: Tuyo.
I had heard the hype, I’d read the reviews, I’d drooled over the Instagram posts, and now it was time for me to take a little wander along the canal to sample Tuyo’s Mediterranean delicacies for myself! Was I disappointed? Absolutely bloody not.
Everything here is done well.
I happened to arrive halfway between the brunch and lunch sittings so it was necessary for me to make the achingly tough choice between two agonisingly tempting menus. In the end, it was the call of the blue cheese croquettes that decided it for me (more on these delights later).
We were warmly greeted by beaming, friendly staff as well as beautiful decor in a fresh, airy space. If you looked up ‘Perfect Sunday Lunch Spot’ in the dictionary, you would almost certainly find this.
Now, this isn’t the type of place you can simply rock up and settle on one dish before moseying on out again. Oh no. The entire premise of this venue is that you order a little of a lot, and you definitely can’t leave hungry. Try to imagine a fusion of Italian, Spanish and Greek cuisines in tapas style.
Chris ordered the olives to tide him over. I like to pretend that I enjoy snacking on olives because there’s something kind of classy about it, but in actual fact, I just can’t warm to them. Nonetheless, Chris enjoyed them very much and, after a few sips of our smooth (and well made) lattes, we were ready to kick things off.
We ordered a selection of six dishes, all which came out at different times and all of which looked like works of art.
First to arrive were the Char-grilled Artichokes. This bowl of deliciousness contains soya beans, black quinoa, feta cheese and parmesan shavings. Artichokes aren’t traditionally top of my list (I told you, I’m the worst vegetarian ever), but these were divine. When you first bite into them, the first thing you taste is that lovely smokey flavour that char-grilled veggies possess. The edamame adds a little bite, the balsamic vinegar cuts through and then you finish with the tang of the creamy feta and the parmesan. This is a wonderful mixture of simple flavours that just seem to complement one another.
I was mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the Falafel dish which came out next. The main base of this plate is the Ajo blanco which, as our waiter explained to us, is a popular Spanish cold soup made using bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and vinegar. The taste of the almonds is unmistakable and when paired with the sesame seeds which cling to the falafel, you get a beautifully fragrant and nutty flavour. Other key flavours packed into this dish are the black olives and piquillo tapenade.
At this point, we also took the opportunity to grab some freshly squeezed ginger & carrot juices. Pulply, fresh and strong in flavour, these were a perfect Sunday lunchtime addition to an already supremely flavoursome meal.
Next to arrive was the soft Josper Turkish Pepper , served with greek yoghurt, feta & chilli mojo. I really liked this dish. The pairing of the delicate cheese with the greek yoghurt made the dish extra creamy. Plus, when have peppers and cheese not complemented each other? Never, that’s when. The vinaigrette also had a subtle flavour which wasn’t too overpowering. Delish.
Next to join my overflowing table of tapas came the Halloumi. I thought I was ready for it, but I was not. I had two favourite dishes and this was one of them. The dish is a mixture of levantine peppers, compressed pickled cucumber, chilli mojo and roasted pistachios.
Oh my, this was good.
The first thing that hits you is the sweet salsa-like sauce and the perfect level of spice, then the rich sauce disappears and the unmistakable halloumi flavour cuts through. You can taste the creamy cheese juxtaposed against the crunch of the cucumber on your tongue before the divine ground pistachio flavour takes over to finish. Absolutely insane.
Cue the Burrata. Heritage tomatoes, black olives, basil, sumac gremolata & 8 year old aged balsamic drizzled over incredibly soft mozzarella which holds the flavours of the dish. This is refreshing, a little sweet and it melts in the mouth like any good Burrata dish should.
They do say that you should save the best until last, and…
Meet the other highlight of my meal – The Picos Blue & Date Croquetas with cumin ali-oli and roasted walnuts. I thought that this was just perfection. The blue cheese taste is subtle but it’s there and it’s delightful. The rich, creamy texture from the cumin aioli and cheese takes over your whole mouth and then there’s a little crucnchy hint of walnut. I just absolutely loved everything about this.
For the eagle-eyed among you, yes this was practically every veggie option on the menu.
This restaurant ticks all of the boxes as well as some I didn’t even know I had. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy Sunday. The atmosphere is chilled, it’s busy but you don’t feel packed in and the music fits the vibe perfectly.
The staff are welcoming, professional and warm, the restaurant is perfectly decorated with cute neons and contrasting hanging baskets filled with plants, and one side of the restaurant is purely glass which allows the light to flood in.
Location wise, this is the perfect little spot to sit and watch the world go by. Every woman, man and fluffy little dog seem to pass this canal-side haven, whether they’re on their way to pick up some flowers from Columbia Road or heading to the beautiful London Fields space.
As for the food, I think it’s pretty clear that I was incredibly impressed by the explosion of flavours we had just been treated to. There was a burst of taste in every corner of every dish. The chef takes simple ingredients and combines them to make exquisite, and often unexpected flavours.
With decor to die for and tapas to treat your tastebuds, not only is Tuyo worth a visit, it deserves to become one of your regular spots.
The Little London Foodie Recommends:
Picos Blue & Date Croquetas
Halloumi & Levantine Peppers
Josper Turkish Pepper