Stepping straight off the streets of London to experience Italy for an evening.
Jumper: Zara (similar here) / Necklace*: Katie Mullally
Where: Diciannove, 19 New Bridge Street (tucked inside Crowne Plaza London – The City)
On a bleak Monday evening just a few weeks ago, I finished up my last meeting of the day and met my lovely Mum at Diciannove, an Italian restaurant and wine bar located just inside the Crowne Plaza hotel opposite Blackfriars station. I’d been up since dawn and my feet were throbbing from running around the city all day but it was nothing a glass of red wine and a hefty bowl of carbs couldn’t fix …
The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside the restaurant was the mood lighting; tea lights sat on the tables in pretty holders and illuminated panels lined the bar. Aside from that, there was little light (these photos have been brightened because it was so dark) which made the atmosphere very relaxing and actually, quite romantic. It was intimate and it was quiet (presumably because it was a Monday) – the perfect place to sit down and really enjoy a conversation, rather than having to raise your voice above loud music or persistent chatter. There was a rare sense of privacy too (ever feel like the person next to you is listening to your every word?) – booths line the length of the restaurant closest to the street, ensuring that you and your companions can hold the most private of conversations without being overheard (though I still wouldn’t recommend shouting your PIN number, anywhere or to anyone actually).
So on to the important part: the food. Similarly as to when I visited Rossopomodoro, I was a little nervous that the restaurant wouldn’t be able to cater for my dietary requirements (it’s hard to imagine many Italians are both vegan and coeliac) but as it turns out, they could and they did – quite brilliantly. It was actually one of the best meals I’ve ever had! Mum and I had the same starters and the same main courses (our similar tastes meant sampling of the menu was quite narrow).
To begin, we had a salad of sweet potatoes, green beans and toasted hazelnuts drizzled with the house dressing. It was sweet, it was light and it was absolutely delicious. I love any dish with sweet potato in it (remind me to order sweet potato fries to enjoy on my deathbed) and this was certainly no exception. Then came our mains. We enjoyed an enormous bowl of wild mushroom risotto, infused with garlic and Italian herbs. It was huge. I just about finished every mouthful but Mum left a good forkful or two. I’d definitely say that if you’re going to have a heavy and hearty main, perhaps skip the starter (or not – depending on how far you have to walk after your meal …). But generous portions aside, it was the best risotto I’ve ever tasted. The garlic wasn’t too overwhelming and the mushrooms were varied and flavoursome. It really was delicious.
Struggling to make room for dessert, I opted for a scoop of lemon sorbet and a refreshing ginger tea, while Mum chose one of the signature dishes: warm sour cherries with ricotta and pistachio. Having strategically left some of her risotto, she devoured her dessert almost instantly (making appreciative noises and leaving no need for a verbal verdict). We were stuffed. But also extremely satisfied – the flavours of each course were just outstanding and we both agreed it was one of the most enjoyable meals we’d ever had. Accompanied by a few glasses of delicious red wines (Barbera for Mum, Chianti for me), we couldn’t fault one aspect of our Italian experience at Diciannove.
I would highly recommend this restaurant and if you hotfoot it down there within the next few months, you might even get the chance to sample one of their Regional Dinners. For £35, you can enjoy 3 courses influenced by specialities from different Italian regions – with a glass of prosecco too! Below are the dates for each of the exclusive regional dinners:
Tuscany – Wednesday 23rd March / Sicily – Tuesday 26th April / Venice – Tuesday 24th May / Puglia – Tuesday 21st June
The menus for each can be viewed here, all except Venice and Puglia – as these two are still in planning.
So what do you think? Will you be paying a visit? Please let me know if you go, I’d love to know what you think!
Love, Beth xo.
A special thank you to Diciannove for hosting my Mum and I for the evening. We had a wonderful meal and will definitely be returning soon.
Disclaimer: all items marked with an asterisk have been gifted to me for promotional purposes.