Diciannove, Blackfriars

Diciannove Interior

2013 was my year of hotel restaurants. Some were great. Others were good. But all of them surpassed my, admittedly low, expectations.

Diciannove is the new Italian offering in the Crowne Plaza City hotel in Blackfriars. It's clearly aimed at its business traveller customers as much as potential City lunchers.

The hotel team has tried to make Diciannove look like a ‘proper’ restaurant. With chestnut leather seating, beautifully upholstered banquettes, hefty oak tables and a floating halo-lit ceiling raft, it feels comfortable and not as corporate as you might think.

The menu is big, with something like 19 options spread over the antipasti, risotto and past, and secondi courses. Fortunately, our charming waitress was on hand to help me cut through my culinary confusion. I started with the pan-fried scallops with butternut squash and pancetta crumbs starter – which were well cooked and tasty enough but the scallops lacked in seasoning – and the crumbs were well, crumbs. A little bit sparse, in other words. The fillet of beef with soft polenta and seasonal mushrooms was as good a steak as you will find, and made up for any starter shortcomings. From the equally large drinks menu, I opted for the ‘Twisted Negroni’ as my aperitif – rhubarb, gin, vermouth and Campari – which was punchy and very much a ‘big’ drink. The exclusively Italian wine list is similarly large, and with no less than 44 bins feels perfect for its City clientele.

Diciannove is not romantic or hip or festive, but it’s not trying to be any of those things. It isn’t cheap for that matter, either, but Diciannove is what it sets out to be - a City restaurant aimed squarely at the business lunch end of the market. And it’s also a good hotel restaurant.

Diciannove

Crowne Plaza London – The City
19 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6DB
Telephone: 020 7438 8052
http://www.diciannove19.com/
@DiciannoveNo19