Nov 7th, 2013 by Foodie
19 New Bridge Street
London EC4V 6DB
Tel: 020 7438 8052
If you’re looking for a slice of rustic Italian cooking in the heart of the city then try Diciannove. It’s a new place to eat and has recently opened on the ground floor of The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blackfriars. The restaurant, which seats about sixty, is tastefully decorated, with distinctive lighting and an attractive bar area. We were seated in a booth with a four foot wide table, which though ideal for business meetings, was possibly not conducive to intimacy.
The menu presented a galaxy of choice, so whilst nibbling some wonderful homemade Italian breads and savouring a glass of refreshing Gavi, I deliberated contentedly.
There was certainly plenty to tempt my greed and I could have easily ordered half a dozen dishes … but there are limits! Several signature dishes caught my eye including ricotta and spinach gnocchi, and fillet of beef with polenta and mushrooms, but I had to control myself and order only one. Such a pity but do try these as they are bound to be extra special.
The Head Chef, Alessandro Bay, has trained under Georgio Locatelli so I had high hopes of things to come. I began with a mound of soft and buttery burrata, (a type of mozzarella cooked with soured cream), which proved delicious with the salty focaccia bread ideal for mopping up those creamy juices. My guest was full of praise for his starter, a plate of superbly cooked scallops. He said they had a huge depth of flavour with a hint of smokiness and were served with a contrasting pool of butternut squash puree.
To follow, I had a plate of mouth-watering monkfish stew with a pleasing kick of chilli, whilst my guest’s signature dish of grilled swordfish with cherry tomatoes and rocket salad was in his own words, perfectly cooked, authentic, healthy, light and satisfying.
All evening we drank white wine, which ranged from £5.50 through to a rather steep £9.00 a glass. However, wines by the bottle were much better value, commencing at £21.00 for an Italian Chardonnay.
From the choice of eight puddings I had a bowl of vanilla ice cream with an accompanying shot of expresso. This added an enjoyable bitter kick to the sweetness on the palate. My guest remarked of his plate of soured cherry with ricotta and pistachio that it was a little on the bland side, although it had a pleasing crunch.
Diciannove apparently means nineteen in Italian, which is a bit of a coincidence as I would award Diciannove 19/20 for a very enjoyable evening out.
Louise Elgin. October 2013.
A three course meal with a bottle of wine and water is around £60 a head.