Sunday, 13 December 2009

Di Monforte review - London Islington Italian restaurant, friendly service with a mean seafood spaghetti

70 - 72 Liverpool Road, London N1 0QD
Tel: 020 7226 1475
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £20 pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ****
Service: ****
Ambience: ***
Suitable for: groups of four and above, definitely not for quiet romantic dinners.

A pal asked for a casual Italian ristorante in Angel Islington and after much deliberation, I asked her to try Tenore Pizzeria.

She called me after that and thanked me for the recommendation. Halfway through the conersation I realized she was talking about a different restaurant altogether. She was in fact referring to Di Monforte, which is in the same vicinity but along Liverpool Road. Apparently, she took a wrong turn and stumbled into Di Monforte.

Di+Monforte+review+Islington+Italian+restaurant+London+ChowAfter her raves about the Di Monforte experience, we decided to give it a shot one Thursday evening. I called at 6.30pm and managed to get a table for two at 8pm without much fuss. Then again, it was a weekday.

Anyway, there were some delays on the Tube (always blame it on the Tube, people will actually sympathise with you) and were were nearly 30min late.

I pushed through the door and a somewhat distinguished looking gentleman immediately came striding over from the bar. Upon confirming that we did have a reservation, he showed us to our table just round the corner from the bar.

I couldn't help but noticed that the background music (no vocals, just a very loud electric guitar and lots of drums) was playing quite loudly. Didn't thought much of it but it became somewhat unbearable towards the end of the dinner that we actually cancelled out desserts just to get out of the restaurant.

Fresh scallops wrapped in bacon with olive oil sprinkled on it, enough said.

A pity really considering that the sea scallops wrapped in Italian pancetta on a bed of courgette (£6.50), though could not compare with that at Hawksmoor, the accompanying bacon added a interesting dimension to the otherwise relatively bland scallop. But I must maintain that the scallops were quite fresh and the courgette went down well with them.

Spaghetti done nicely with generous serving of seafood

Spaghetti al Scoglio Monforte (£13.50) - spaghetti with seafood sauteed in white wine and garlic was definitely one of the more satisfying seafood spaghettis I had ever tasted. The mussels, oysters and clams (especially mussels) were juicy and the full garlic flavour(not raw mind you) was oozing from the concotion. Though I must add that the single prawn was a tad overcooked.

Cabonara - tasted heavenly but was overpriced

Tagliatelle with wild mushroom bacon n cream sauce (£12) was essentially glorified tagliatelle carbonara. Though the consistency of the cream was tastefully done, I thought that they could be more generous with the mushroom (there mushroom bits were barely discernable).

There was a irrepressible young waiter who was literally all over the place taking orders. As Di Monforte began to fill up, the service became noticeably slower. Our dinner took almost two hours. To give that waiter some credit, he was unfailingly polite and good humoured, and managed to placate everyone.

By the time we finished our mains, i was dying to get out of the place as the loud music was starting to give me a headache. I wasn't the only one who think so - the guy seated in the table next to ours asked a waiter, "What kind of music is this? Sounds like a live rock conert going on!'

I left Di Monforte wondering how their tiramisu tasted like. Oh well.

Di Monforte on Urbanspoon

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