Those responsible for naming the smaller Christmas menu at Diciannove in the City chose “piccolo” as an appropriate description. When set against the four-course grande option it makes a certain sort of sense, especially coming in at £15 lighter than the £50 premium offering.
But an unintended resonance also presents itself on the arrival of the three courses.
It’s not that the food is shrill and sharp, although Bellinis do arrive in flutes.
No, it’s that there is only a little dash of seasonal cheer to be found at the Blackfriars Crowne Plaza-based establishment.
Having published a picture of the turkey (with small cubes of roast potato, veg and red wine gravy beneath) and described it as “spare”, the PR quickly emails to inform me the presentation and delivery are classically Italian.
So what? It’s a sparse and lean serving. That’s actually pleasantly refreshing in the face of traditional stuff-yer-face alternatives at this time of year.
The bird even manages a decent stab at juiciness – Christmas-lite rather than Queen’s speech bloat.
It’s also about as festive as Diciannove gets .
The starters, while a decent selection of Italian bites (calamari, cured meat) completely fail to scream Mistletoe And Wine at full volume.
Consequently the Christmas pud in brandy sauce looks a little embarrassed to be sharing a menu with the rest, as though it’s gate crashed the seasonal celebrations of an accountancy firm and has been propositioned by six auditors in as many minutes.
Better to go with the Tiramisu and place the whole thing well beyond the reach of the holiday season.
Besides, there are excellent fizzes on offer and Italian food is a safe bet for a crowd at any time of year. An antidote to the cynical offerings of others, perhaps.
Just don’t ruin the illusion with paper hats and crackers, there’s really no need.
The menu is available until December 23.
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