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Diciannove: Mixing business with pleasure Italian style at Blackfriars
Jun 14th 2017 | Written by Baldwin Ho

Diciannove: Mixing business with pleasure Italian style at Blackfriars

Situated in the Crown Plaza hotel in the city, you might expect Diciannove to be filled with business workers and that probably is the case during lunchtimes, but when we visited in the evening recently, it had a pleasant mixture of gentlemen in suits and casually dressed diners looking for a great value Italian dining offer (a few were using tastecards).

The decor is smartly designed as you would expect from a top city hotel with the emphasis on shelves of attractive bottles of wines displayed invitingly on the walls. In case you haven’t received the subliminal message, this is a place to order wine with your meal. There are 4 sizes of wine offered with many of the top Italian regions represented like Veneto, Piemonte and Toscana.

The great thing about dining in hotel restaurants is that you are guaranteed fresh ingredients daily due to the high turnover. A simple salad with mixed leaves and vegetables looks like they’ve just been picked from the garden patch. The greenery is crunchy and inviting with a glistening shine from a light drizzle of olive oil.

The mains strike the right balance between casual offerings and more formal ones. The Galadari pizza is extremely well portioned and comes with an abundance of cheeses: cheddar, fontina and mozzarella. The sprinkling of black truffle added more character and flavours to an already flavoursome pizza.

The pan-fried lemon sole was equally addictive, no doubt in part due to the pecorino cream sauce. Yes, if you are not a cheese lover, then Diciannove might not be the place for you. The fish itself was sturdy, well-structured and lightly grilled and for those worried, it might not be such a healthy dish, it does come with a pleasing amount of broad beans and steamed green beans.

They often like to celebrate special occasions at Diciannove. During our visit, they were celebrating the Chelsea Flower Show with a special floral menu. For desserts, we shared a beautifully plated strawberry and chantilly cream millefeuille, which came with edible spring flowers. The richness of the Chantilly cream was ideally counter-balanced by the sweet-tasting strawberries and the crunchiness of the pastry.

They often have weeks devoted to particular regional cuisines in Italy such as Sicily, Veneto and Puglia as well as celebrating key periods like black truffle season. If you love authentic local Italian cuisine, then make a beeline to Diciannove today.

baldwin@townfish.com

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