There’s something about London on a Sunny day and crossing over Blackfriars Bridge yesterday was a joy. The river looked resplendent and bathed in sunshine. I have a huge ‘soft spot’ for EC4 having worked in a Publishing company in Fleet Street for the first 9 years of my working life. I knew instinctively exactly where my destination was without consulting the map. It felt good to be ‘home’. Crowne Plaza London –City stands on New Bridge Street and if I had a £ for every day I have walked past this beautiful building from ’87-96 I’d certainly be rather well healed.
The Crown Plaza has three restaurants servicing its 204 rooms as well as the busy area it’s situated in. Today, we decided to have lunch at Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Winner of Open Table diners choice award this year (2016).The restaurant produces a menu of authentic and freshly made Italian food, including a fantastic selection of anti-pasti and pasta freshly made by head chef, Alessandro Bay daily. The restaurant is modern, airy and the ambience was warm and welcoming as you’d expect from an Italian restaurant.
My dining guest today was my sister Emma who like me, is a very big fan of Italian food. We both decided not to have pasta, because we naturally gravitate towards it and thought we’d try something different,although the lure or the lobster spaghettini was quite difficult to resist.
I tried a carafe of Gavi from the very well populated wine list and Emma had her favourite Italian beer, Peroni. Whilst we waited four our starters we were presented with some scrummy home-baked bread with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip. I always forget how wonderful these flavours are. We were good and had one piece each so as not to spoil what was to be an amazing journey through some of the best flavours Italy produces.
For starters Emma had Calamari and I plumped for the Octopus salad. The calamari was light and perfectly cooked and accompanied by delicious mousse-like mayonnaise and a white wine vinegar and sugar reduction, which tasted like a savoury golden syrup. It was delicious.
The octopus was amongst some of the most tender and sweet tasting octopus I’ve tasted in a long time. It was sublime. Mixed with sliced new potatoes and crushed olives and drizzled with chilli oil it was a simple yet flavour-packed start to my lunch.
Next came the pork belly, which as you’d expect from some serious slow cooking was melt in the mouth, served with sautéed peas and apples in a cider sauce.
I had the Grilled rib eye which was perfectly medium-rare it came on a bed of fresh spinach and the most glorious veal sauce. We both opted for roasted potatoes which were crispy, and fabulously scented with rosemary and green been which to our delight were just slightly al dente.
For desert, Emma had the cheese which was delicious and served with home baked bread, honey and fruit which offset the salty Pecorino perfectly, my personal favourite ( She let me try some ) was the Ubriaco al vino rosso a hard cheese aged in red wine. Wow, what a wonderful flavour.
I had the Italian classic Tiramisu, which was delightful, light, and creamy as a good Tiramisu should be. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. We finished up with coffee and homemade biscuits.
We loved our lunch at Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, everyone was so welcoming and we were looked after perfectly. Our congratulations to the team for such a wonderful experience. We’ll be back.
Get in touch and experience it for yourselves.