Recently, I have become a fan of the ‘starter and dessert’ restaurant option, instead of only ordering a main course and ending up stuck in that position where you want a dessert but cannot physically eat one for risk of genuinely exploding. I have reached that stage far too many times, and as a pro, I can tell you that it isn’t enjoyable or worth it. There is a perfect level to get to when dining out, where you have worked up an appetite that makes the food satisfying to eat, but also where you succeed to eat only as much as is comfortable. The latter part is a skill learned through experience and trial and error, but I’m getting there.
I have a bit of a weird taste in food, with a long list of favourites, ranging from paté to garlic bread to mushrooms (in any shape or form). So you can imagine when I saw that DiMaggio’s had a starter of ‘Stuffed Mushroom: crispy breaded mushrooms filled with paté with garlic mayo dip’ I was over goddamn Mars, never mind the Moon.
Waiting for food to come is a stressful time, especially when eating out with someone else. The friction is felt when you both try and make small talk, smiling politely through your teeth at one another as your stomach manages to produce an excellent imitation of a whale’s mating call, trying not to break out in sweat or snap anything too aggressive in the tense run-up to the serving of the first course. Today at DiMaggio’s, as previously mentioned, I had opted for the starter and dessert option, whereas my friend had gone for the main. This in itself was enough to make me nervous: what if I finished before her and had to sit around waiting? What if my dessert didn’t turn up straight after? How was I going to cope??
I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts about the mushrooms. I’ve never had nor seen stuffed mushrooms before and I was worried my fears about the minuscule size of the things were going to be fulfilled. I have never been more glad to say that I was wrong. Three mushrooms covered in breadcrumbs turned up, the same size as your large piece of pakora. The relief that washed over me was similar to Daniel’s when he knocked out Goliath, a sensation of biblical proportions: thank God.
Breaded like the way posh restaurant haddock is, the mushrooms tasted amazing. Cutting into them could have been easier, and the hardness of the top layer of breadcrumbs was a slight downside (although it probably shows how little oil was used, most likely a good thing health-wise..) but the mushrooms did not disappoint. The sweet pork paté complimented the subtle taste of the mushrooms in a commendable manner, with the garlic dip adding a slight kick to each forkful. By the time I had finished my course, I was slightly regretful that I had not ordered two starters (typical), but a mere five minutes later, I began to start feeling the effects of the food in my stomach, adequately filling me up; leaving that small but crucial space for dessert. At this point, I was thankful that I did have a short interval between my two courses: time to digest and prepare for what I had been craving all day: the ‘Caramel Shortcake Sundae’, described by DiMaggio’s as: ‘our delicious homemade caramel shortcake melted and topped with vanilla ice cream, fresh cream and chocolate sauce’. And just simply reading that beautiful description makes you start to salivate, am I right?
In a tall glass, layers of ice cream and shortbread were bundled on top of one another, wrapped together by the generous helpings of chocolate sauce, covered by an inviting spiral of whipped cream and topped off with the ‘DiMaggio’s’ wafer and a little green mint leaf (in a vain attempt to make some part of this glass of pure fat and sugar healthy – yeah, nice try). I was in heaven. I can honestly tell you that it tasted just as spectacular as it looked, and even more honestly confess that it felt ten times as heavy when sitting in the bottom of my stomach.
All in all, I had an extremely good meal at DiMaggio’s tonight. I go there all the time, but it is usually the pizza that I indulge in. Now, I’m trying to be more adventurous and creative and branch out a little bit. The staff in the West Nile Street franchise are some of the nicest staff I’ve met and always ready to help, and there’s not really much I can fault, but I like being picky so I’d rate it four and a half out of five stars. With my meal only coming to £10.20, the prices are great; an added bonus for students. Definitely drop by if you’re visiting – I manage to spend at least one night every second week in there.