Tosca – Not a Night at the Opera

Tosca Enoteca & Café, 34 Neftchiler Avenue, Seaside Boulevard (Bulvar), Baku. www.sahil-dining.az  Tel.: 012404 8212

A couple of weeks ago a gaggle of girlfriends and I celebrated a birthday over lunch on the terrace of Tosca. At the time, I was quite impressed. We had a wonderful afternoon, the sun was shining, the Caspian glinting, the pizza and salads were good and so was the service. One of our group asked for a Chai Latte which was met with complete incomprehension but then, for Baku, that is still quite an unconventional choice.

Following such an enjoyable experience, I went again earlier this week. This time we were three, an Egyptian, a Greek and I, once again on the terrace.  Somewhat unoriginally, two of us ordered a Greek Salad, the other a Quattro Formaggi Pizza with extra mushrooms and ruccola. On this occasion, sadly, we were not offered bread and oil on the table. Perhaps we should have explicitly ordered it.

The main course salads were quite disappointing: the portions very small, consisting mainly of chopped tomatoes, the feta tasteless, watery and past its best. The pizza, previously such a success, was over salted and the base soggy.  It wasn’t awful, just not very good.  Service was prompt and okay, although we had to wait an inordinate length of time to get our bill. As so often in Baku, coffees were whipped away before they were completely finished. Prices were acceptable but, in view of the quality and quantity on this occasion, not exactly value for money.  It has to be said that the location on the ground floor of the Sahil Dining Complex on Bulvar on the shores of the Caspian is hard to beat on a warm summer’s day.

Puccini’s opera ‘Tosca’ was initially called a ‘shabby little shocker’ but went on to great success. The jury is still out on ‘Tosca’, the restaurant:  to date, one excellent experience and one rather mediocre one.

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