Sogno Di Dante
Il Sogno di Dante
It's not every day that I get to sample a new restaurant in London. Tonight I met with ten of my friends in Dante's Dream, on a mews street off Brook Street (near the southern tip of New Bond Street). This Italian restaurant is set over four floors: the basement (Dante's Hell) is a pizza tapas piano bar, ground floor is for drinks, first floor (Dante's Paradise) dinner, and second floor party room.
I was impressed that it had separate sections for smokers and nonsmokers. This is rare in London. As a vehement nonsmoker, I want to eat without fear of being interrupted by the smell of a lit cigarette.
At any Italian restaurant, I have my absolute preferences, if they are on the menu. For starters, I like to have carpaccio. Tonight, I chose seafood salad while my American neighbour selected the mouth-watering swordfish carpaccio with rocket and parmesan cheese. As a main course, linguine alla vongole comes up trumps, if it is fresh clams (not the canned type). Finally, tiramisu is my favourite for dessert.
Tonight, the diversity index in my group was very high: English, French, Algerian, German, Ghanian, Russian, American, Korean,... I lost count. The service was impeccable. I love getting all that attention when you're the only party of eleven.
We gave the honour of wine selection to our French friend. We toasted to my double celebration, the reason why we were here.
Everything went smoothly and deliciously until we asked for the bill. Given that four of us had to leave early, those that remained were somewhat apprehensive what the final bill would come to. The restaurant had accidentally included the complimentary grappa at STG 5 each. This caused us to distrust the entire bill. The Frenchman insisted on checking every single item so that we could be entirely sure. The rest of the bill was fine, except for the two gin and tonics not paid by two of the departed guests. Nevertheless, getting a revised bill took an hour. By this time, we had all missed the last train.
Never mind the last hiccup, I was pretty satisfied with the way everything had turned out. We arrived at 7 pm and left at 1 am, having indulged in designer Italian cooking, attentive service, and a reasonable bill of STG 37 per person. Not bad for aperitif, starters, main course, dessert, wine, and tea/coffee. And that included the tip, too!
15 November 2002 Friday
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