New restaurants open in London at such a whirlwind rate that, if it's not your actual job to do so, it's almost impossible to keep up. I subscribe - as should you, if you have any interest in these things - to Catherine and Gavin Hanly's definitive Hot Dinners e-newsletter, and keep an eye on, among others, the excellent blog of lifestyle concierge company Bon Vivant, but very often even reasonably high-profile openings pass me by.
All this having been said, I was still surprised when a friend who has nothing to do with restaurants professionally or otherwise raved to me about Soho newcomer Disiac, because not only had I not heard about it, apparently no-one else had either - not the newsletters, nor in my 'Food People' column on Twitter, nor even a couple of real-life restaurant critics I asked.
You will, I think, be hearing rather a lot more about Disiac before long however, because having gone along to try it for myself I reckon it's going to be very popular indeed. For one thing it's an absolutely gorgeous little place, with a minimal but luxurious monochrome interior and a variety of flexible dining spaces - see-and-be-seen window seats, tucked-away booths or around the central raw bar and open kitchen. For another, the bar turns out some extremely good - and potent - cocktails at £9 a pop from opening o'clock until gone midnight.
But the real excitement at Disiac lies in the fantastic food, some of the best I've had anywhere in a while. Executive chef Paolo Palmisano and head chef Michele de Rosa (ex-Cecconi's) have put together a mostly Italian menu, divided simply into Starters, Fish & Meat and Pasta & Risotti, all made to order.
My date - rising star of fashion illustration Joe Larkowsky - and I started with some ace bruschetta followed by a beautifully oozing Pugliese burrata, simply drizzled in some very good Spanish olive oil. That same oil, with the addition of just a little lemon and parsley, was used to sauté fat mussels, the resulting rich emulsion coating the bivalves like butter.
A plateau de fruit de mer was for its £32 price - all-in, not per person - absolutely huge and especially generous considering it included half a grilled lobster and a few Colchester rock oysters alongside super-fresh, super-tasty mussels, clams and langoustines, pleasingly chewy chilli-flecked razor clams and sweet, bright Mediterranean prawns. We finished off with two incredible pasta dishes, strozzapretti - thick hand-rolled whorls - tossed with courgettes, cherry tomatoes, bitter wilted radicchio and tangy dolcelatte, and the classic Neapolitan scialatelli alle vongole, short cables of pasta dotted with dinky palourde clams.
The forty-five bin wine-list is strong on champagne and sparklers - accounting for a third of the list - and elsewhere offers an interesting selection of all-Old World whites, reds and rosés, none marked up by more than about 100% on the retail price meaning there are some bargains to be had. A crisp, green Tramin Pinot Bianco was a good match both for the salinity of our seafood and the bigger flavours of the pasta.
So great food, fair pricing, cracking cocktails and a smart space; what's not to love? Nothing that I can see, although Disiac will face some challenges to really establish itself and do as well as I hope it will. Firstly, the slick interior is so the opposite of the current ubiquitous bare brick/exposed lightbulbs fashion that trendier restaurant collectors might unfairly give it a wide berth.
Also the changing roster of events - a DJ some nights, live jazz others - could put off punters who prefer consistency over variety. Not me, though; I intend to go back, and often, to enjoy more of the brilliance Joe and I experienced on this first night, and suggest that you do too.
Disiac, ladies and gentlemen - unusually, you heard it here first.
Disiac, 6 Greek Street, London W1D 4ED Tel: 020 7734 3888 disiaclondon.com
Posted by +Hugh Wright