We had to dodge the tumbleweed blowing across the arid wasteland that is, (or was) Granary Wharf to find this little gem of a place to eat tucked into one of the dark corners. It was called Vineataly then, now for some reason they’ve changed it to the equally silly LIVIN’Italy. Things are looking up beyond the Dark Arches and if it’s still pretty quiet daytime, thing perk up after dark since the arrival of Fazenda and Out of the Woods.
Don’t let the lack of folk put you off – day or evening, plenty of them have cleverly found their way to LIVIN’Italy and the place is buzzing. This authentic cafe/bistro is run by an Italian family (Il Diva in Pudsey’s theirs too) serving mainly Tuscan dishes, many of them at lunch, in the form of stuzzichini (‘tasty nibbles’) with classic antipasto, gorgonzola and marscapone crostini, bruschetta with Sicilian anchovies & capers. The homemade foccacia studded with olives is a fluffy cloud of lovliness, perfect for mopping up the rich tomato concasse smothering the pork & beef croquettes (polpettes). In the evening it gets more conventional but look out for Tuscan sausage on crostini, ribollita soup, beef Carpaccio and classic pasta dishes, and grills.
They’re open from noon til late every day so take your time, a laptop and an excellent espresso; a stuzzichini will fire your appetite mid-day, when a glass of Prosecco prior to lunch sounds like a plan. Follow up with a plate of cannelloni. Then maybe a nap?