A hidden gem located in the Crown Plaza Hotel, just opposite Blackfriars Station, Diciannove offers a relaxed and intimate environment resulting in a calm atmosphere.
On arrival we (my guest Luis and I) were greeted by Gian Carlo, the newly appointment Manager; a real Italian showman, who seated us in a nice quite area of the restaurant.
Gian Carlo kindly went through both the food and wine menus, he even offered to pair wine with our courses, which was a nice touch.
Luis opted for the Spaghettini all’astice: fresh lobster, pigato, thyme and fresh tomato (£12.75). We both agreed that this dish was seasoned to perfection; the tomato sauce was rich and flavoursome with a piquant taste of garlic….that said the sauce appeared to contain a little too much oil; it still went down very well nevertheless.
Being the hard core carnivore, I opted for the Tagliatelle al ragu: with beef and pork, a nice light, perfectly cooked starter, however I did have slight food envy as it lacked a medley of powerful flavours in comparison to Luis’ lobster dish. At a price of £10.75, the portion was a decent size and good value for money. The tasty starters definitely made us crave our mains even more.
Throughout the courses our ever attentive host promptly came over suggesting more wine, his insistence on receiving food feedback made me feel like a guest in his home, while Gian Carlo’s strong Italian accent reinforced the overall feeling of authenticity.
For the main course I stuck with my carnivore ways and opted for the Agnello al Saporito: grilled lamb chops, braised aubergine and courgette, with sautéed bock choy and baby tomatoes, I could tell on arrival that the lamb would be tender and melt in the mouth soft, I’m glad to confirm that I was correct, I am indeed a lamb lover and this dish did not disappoint, my side of salted rosemary potatoes were also a nice accompaniment.
Luis carried on his seafood theme and went for the Orata in Guazzetto (£24.75): seabream fillet, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, guazzetto sauce, olives and fried parsley, although Luis enjoyed this, I didn’t share his opinion pertaining to the dish being a little too spicy, on the contrary, like his earlier starter this was fresh and flavoursome.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t seek out a Tiramisu for desert, and obviously dining in an Italian restaurant and being spoilt for choice, it would be sacrilege for me not to order my favourite desert! The taste was heavenly, although I have to be honest and mention the consistency was a bit, dare I say sloppy… I just can’t think of a more appropriate adjective. I would have preferred more body and to feel the texture of the sponge which is what I’m used to. That said it did taste really nice, also I’ve never tasted tiramisu from an Italian restaurant before (I know right!) maybe this was the authentic version and I have been eating dodgy ones all along?!
Being a chocolate fanatic, Luis went straight for the Delizia al Cioccolato: decadent chocolate mousse with chocolate salami. Due to both feeling greedy we shared the sour cherries served warm with ricotta and pistachio. The chocolate was nice but very rich, although this did not prevent us from feeding our faces! The cherry desert was actually really nice, albeit a tad sour, however the ricotta and pistachio all worked very well together.
To conclude, I found the experience pleasant, our host definitely made the evening more pleasurable; Gian Carlo appears genuinely passionate about all things Diciannove.
Price – £168 (Including wine and service) the bill was £168 quite steep considering we did not drink surplus bottles of wine.
Service – Great.
Ambience – Chilled a good place to have a low key catch up, a first date or crisis talks away from the hustle and bustle. However, the music could have been a tad louder in order to drown out the animated conversations from our neighbours!
Bathroom – 5/5 clean, luxurious and attached to the hotel.
For reservations and further information please visit: www.diciannove19.com