Hotel Review: Park Plaza Victoria, Pimlico in London
When it comes to convenient stays in the capital, it doesn’t get much better than the Park Plaza Victoria. Located just a short walk from Victoria tube station, you’re in easy reach of heaving Piccadilly and Oxford Circus – so close, in fact, that you can avoid the public transport crowds and go on foot.
For those who love nothing more than a busy day of shopping and eating in the centre of the city, but aren’t quite as keen on carrying around the resulting bags and food babies, it’s a no brainer. And sightseers will also be well placed here, with just a five minute meander to Buckingham Palace.
A comfortable hotel with all the home comforts you’d expect of a four star, the Park Plaza Victoria features a range of luxury bedrooms boasting flat screen TVs, air conditioning, WiFi access and on-demand movies, with work desks in each one for those who are staying on business.
During our stay, we were given an apartment room; a spacious option for those visiting for longer stays, featuring a large, comfortable bed and roomy wardrobe, a living area comprising a sofa and coffee table, and a small kitchen area with plenty of cupboard space, tea and coffee making facilities and a microwave. Although perhaps more dated than some of the hotel’s other room types, the apartment room offers plenty of storage for clothes, and with a large and inviting bathroom featuring a deep bath and power shower, it has all that you might want to come back to after a long day exploring the city. In London, space is precious – and in truth, all too rare.
From a luxurious spa, to a stylish cocktail bar, there is plenty to keep you occupied elsewhere in the hotel during your stay – but the real hidden gem of this central London hideaway is the vibrant Italian tapas restaurant that can be found at the rear of the hotel.
TOZI specialises in Venetian cicchetti, and is the beating heart of the hotel, with guests eager to while away an afternoon with friends or clients over a sociable lunchtime meal – complete with exquisite cocktails, and the best Italian wine.
But it isn’t just guests who frequent this much-loved haunt, with people flocking from across London in pursuit of that authentic taste of Venice.
Arriving at the hotel on a Tuesday, at lunchtime, we were expecting to check in before sitting down for a quiet lunch, but were pleasantly surprised as we were ushered into TOZI and given a window seat. Not much to see outside, but TOZI itself is a hive of warmth and activity that makes for a cosy and chic hideout for a cold winter’s day like today.
Successfully combining the old and the new, the restaurant oozes simple Italian glamour. From the smart leather furniture and rows of hanging pendant lights, to rustic touches that include dangling legs of ham and a large, open kitchen, it is a restaurant that has somehow managed to get the balance between the two just right. Immediately, it feels that the place has almost outgrown its parent hotel – or certainly, that it outshines it.
Settled in at our table, we pore over the extensive drinks list. I know almost before looking that I’m going to have an Aperol Spritz – that classic Venetian tipple that takes me instantly back to the city of love.
For those unfamiliar with Venice and its delightful cicchetti, lovers of Spanish tapas and small snack plates will be in heaven at TOZI, with a range of small dishes designed for sharing all yours for the choosing. Five or six is said to be the right amount for two – though beware if selecting breads or pastas, as you may well find that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Excuse the pun!
From charcuterie to seafood, and pasta to bruschetta, there is something on the menu to suit a variety of tastes, and in a restaurant like this, it’s often difficult to know just where to start. At our waiter’s enthusiastic recommendation, we opt first for the buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle, and this melt-in-the-mouth dish soon proves to be in a league of its very own. The ravioli itself is perfectly al dente, while the ricotta and black truffle add a delicate creaminess to proceedings – an entirely delicious affair that leaves us keen for more, and utterly impressed with the attention to detail thus far.
The parmigiana is an easy choice for aubergine lovers, and the layers of fat, juicy aubergine, sweet tomatoes and rich, gooey cheese comprising the dish certainly don’t disappoint.
Next, it’s the Gnocchi alla Romana, with ox tail and Barolo ragout – a hot and comforting dish that is impossibly rich in flavour thanks to the slow-cooked ox tail and sumptuous red wine. A true taste sensation, and the ultimate winter warmer.
Finally, we move onto a lighter dish – the tuna tartare. Delicately flavoured and all-round refreshing, the fish tastes fresh from the line – and lovers of sushi, ceviche and the like will understand just how much of a deal breaker it can be when this is not the case. Zesty lime and coriander accentuate the careful combination of flavours, making for a wonderful departure from the carb-heavy comforters, and a choice that truly refreshes the palate.
If variety is your cup of tea, then look no further – Tozi has got it all, and for those who are indecisive, hungry, or just plain foodies, there are few better places to eat in Victoria.
The great thing about cicchetti is, you can draw your meal out for as long as you’d like to, and at Tozi, it soon becomes apparent that an hour or two is never enough. It’s the kind of place where you will always find yourself trying to find some extra space in your stomach for just one more delectable dish, and if the flow kept coming from the kitchen, you certainly wouldn’t object.
Think hearty, traditional Italian home-cooking cooking, shaped neatly into chic and stylish sharing dishes, and you are on the right track. A wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable afternoon that leaves us keen to return – and undoubtedly a secret weapon for the Park Plaza Victoria.
Not only that, but you need only head upstairs for a comfortable place to lay your head – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Address: 239 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1EQ
Phone: 0844 415 6750