New Year's Day was a bit of a quiet day in Dublin. In fact, it's fair to say that there were livelier graveyards.
We had driven out to Dun Laoghaire with the intentions of having a nice lunch somewhere, followed by a bracing and refreshing walk along the sea. However, the best laid plans were scuppered by the fact that there were next to no restaurants open (not counting Burger King and McDonald's). Thus we turned around and headed back to Ranelagh, thinking that there would be some choice there. To be fair, Ranelagh was livelier than the aforementioned graveyards, perhaps more akin to an old folks nursing home.
We found ourselves under the Luas bridge at the doors of Pinocchio, which is undoubtedly one of Dublin's best Italian restaurants. We've been fans of this restuarant and wine bar for quite a while now, so we knew we'd be assured of a decent meal.
We shared a caprese salad (mixed slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes) to which we added some drizzles of olive oil and thick sweet balsamic vinegar which is available on all the tables (€6.50). A big basket of crusty sliced bread provided plenty of material for mopping up the juices.
|Caprese salad at Pinocchio|
When we eat out, we normally have a "no-samesies" rule, meaning that we do not order the same dish. It's an unspoken rule really, and it works well. But once we looked at the pasta section of Pinocchio's menu, we both fixated on the same dish - Ravioli ai Porcini e Olio al Tartufo, or ravioli stuffed with mushroom, served with truffle oil. (All pasta dishes on the lunchtime menu are priced at a competitive €9.90). We received plates of large flat ravioli filled with dense mushroomy goodness, coated in a light creamy sauce made from panna da cucina. A scattering of rocket, tomatoes and drizzles of truffle oil provided contrasting flavours and textures. It was a dish made from a handful of simple ingredients, and the remaining slices of bread were put to good use in mopping up the tasty sauce.
|Ravioli ai Porcini e Olio al Tartufo|
Paolo Tullio has recently proclaimed Pinocchio to be a source of true Italian cooking, awarding it 10/10 for food. Restaurants that serve bastardised versions of Italian food feature high on my list of restaurant hates. It was a revelation to me when I first ate in Italy, and realised how simple (and great) Italian food truly was. But Pinocchio is the genuine article, serving food as you would find it in Italy.
Pinocchio also works as a cafe and wine bar, in addition to selling many Italian foodstuffs. If you like the food, it's even possible to enrol for an Italian cooking class in their Italian School of Cooking.
Buon appetito indeed.
Pinochio, Luas Kiosk Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Tel: +353 (0)1 497 0111