Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Blackfriars – Visit No. 2

Posted on Friday, 19th December 2014

We dined at Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel about a year ago and loved the experience. We tried a variety of cicchetti (Italian tapas) and home made pastas and enjoyed all our dishes as everything was absolutely delicious. The service was really fabulous as well. So it was with great expectation that we decided to visit Diciannove 19 again. You can read about that previous visit here.

The menu hasn’t changed much since our last visit other than the fact that Diciannove 19 are currently offering an exclusive white truffle menu created by Executive Chef Alessandro Bay. There is a starter, pasta and main dish, all accompanied by shavings of glorious white truffles from Umbria and which can be ordered a la carte.

To get things started we began our evening with the Il Supremo for 1-2 people (£17.50), the antipasta platter. This included fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto Toscano ham, Finocchiona salami, Mortadella di Bologna, sausage, Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles. This was a great cross section of Italian nibbles that did much to whet our appetite. The meats were tasty, and there was a lovely crunchiness to the calamari and zucchini.

Diciannove - Il Supremo - Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

Diciannove – Il Supremo – Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

From the truffle menu, we ordered the uovo in padella con insalatina di radicchio (£24), pan-fried egg served with small chicory salad, corn bread crostino with truffle butter, parmesan and white truffle shavings. The eggs arrived (scrambled rather than pan-fried) with a mouthwatering scent of truffle, created by the topping of light shavings of white truffles. The eggs were delicious and were fluffy and cheesy. The corn bread crostino was very crusty, creating a nice contrast with the softness of the eggs as it offered up a delicious charred and buttery flavour. The chicory salad was a little bitter, but this was expected given that it was chicory.

Diciannove - uovo in padella con insalatina di radicchio,  pan-fried egg served with small chicory salad, corn bread crostino with truffle butter, parmesan and white truffle shavings

Diciannove – uovo in padella con insalatina di radicchio, pan-fried egg served with small chicory salad, corn bread crostino with truffle butter, parmesan and white truffle shavings

Capesante su pure di broccoli – pan-fried scallops served with broccoli puree and toasted almonds (starter – £11.50) was pleasant but unremarkable. The scallops were plump, delicious and cooked well. But more could have been done with the accompaniments to enhance the flavour of this dish.

Diciannove - Capesante su pure di broccoli - pan-fried scallops served with broccoli puree and toasted almonds

Diciannove – Capesante su pure di broccoli – pan-fried scallops served with broccoli puree and toasted almonds

Tagliatelle al ragu with beef and pork ragout (starter – £10.75) was delicious and comforting and cooked exactly how a great ragu should be. It was rich, hearty, fully of body and flavour. It also had a touch of lovely rosemary running the sauce which gave it a great aroma. With the al dente pasta, this dish is highly recommended if you’re in the mood for some hearty home Italian cooking.

Diciannove - Tagliatelle al ragu with beef and pork ragout

Diciannove – Tagliatelle al ragu with beef and pork ragout

Spaghettini all’astice – fresh lobster, pigato, thyme and fresh tomato (starter – £12.75) was not as refined and slick as our previous experience of this dish. It was tasty enough, but the sauce was slightly too sweet and hadn’t quite struck the right flavour profile.

Diciannove - Spaghettini all’astice - Fresh lobster, pigato, thyme and fresh tomato

Diciannove – Spaghettini all’astice – Fresh lobster, pigato, thyme and fresh tomato

Raviolo di ricotta al parmigiano (£33) – ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and parmesan was served with butter, sage and white truffle. The ravioli pasta was cooked al dente, but the filling was slightly grainy in texture and it was difficult to detect the parmesan in the filling. However, the butter and sage sauce topped with white truffles was wonderful and left you wanting more.

Diciannove - Raviolo di ricotta al parmigiano - ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and parmesan was served with butter, sage and white truffle

Diciannove – Raviolo di ricotta al parmigiano – ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and parmesan was served with butter, sage and white truffle

To finish our meal, we chose the homemade gelato (£6.00) with a scoop each of vanilla, hazelnut and chocolate gelato and accompanied by some amarena cherries on the side. The gelato was wonderfully creamy and was a delicious way to end our night.

Diciannove - London Gelato - Homemade vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate with amarena cherries on the side

Diciannove – London Gelato – Homemade vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate with amarena cherries on the side

The food at Diciannove 19 was decent, but the cooking didn’t quite offer up the same refined and elevated experience as our previous visit. Some dishes were well executed but we also found errors in others. With some tweaking, we know Diciannove 19 has the potential to be as wonderful as before. Again, the service was steady and assured.

Note: Words and pictures by Food Porn Nation and myself.

Summary Information:
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5

Prices: About £23 to £46 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.
From the truffle menu – the starter is £24, the pasta is £33 and the main is £46

Website: http://www.diciannove-19.com/

Truffle menu: click here

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