Last Sunday, while sipping a Negroni in the new Pizza E Porchetta, I reached for my phone to take the usual mandatory picture. But instead of using the standard iPhone camera app, I went for Hipstamatic instead, resulting in the photo below. I downloaded Hipstamatic years ago, but rarely use it, so I don't know why I chose it for this particular shot.
Of course the dominant photography app is Instagram, but I've never even downloaded the app. I don't quite know why. I love to take pictures, whether they are quick snaps on my iPhone or more serious efforts on my DSLR. My laptop is overflowing with pictures, while more are stashed on an external hard drive and others reside in my Dropbox. I upload some of my better efforts to Flickr, but never Instagram. I groan when I see people posting Instagram links on Twitter as I know it means a veritable Ice Age will pass while the photo loads. I think it's just not for me (and I'm OK admitting that!).
|A mean Negroni|
Anyway, back to Pizza E Porchetta, which is located on the site of the former Bar & Bistro. A large pizza oven radiates warmth as you enter through the glass doors, while the space underneath the bridge arch has been roofed in cream (easily removable in case the CIE inspectors need to check out the bridge). Uplights add even more gentle warmth and the whole space feels insulated and cozy.
|The comfortable interior|
The menu is dastardly simple at Pizza E Porchetta. As the name suggests, there is pizza and there is porchetta. There is also a selection of starters, salads, pasta and desserts. We order a Negroni (€8.50) and Elderflower Fizz (€7.50) as aperitifs, then sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
His parma pizza, made with San Daniele prosciutto is excellent (€14.00). A thin, light crispy base has little touches of char from the oven, and is topped with rocket, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan and prosciutto. Although I cannot sample the base for myself, the little bits of topping I sample are simple and perfect. I'm told that gluten-free pastas are also available and they are looking into the possibility of gluten-free pizzas, although that will be somewhat trickier due to the need to avoid cross-contamination.
Since he chose pizza, I chose porchetta (€19.00). Pronounced "pork-etta", it's essentially a boned and rolled pork joint, seasoned with layers of herbs. In a piece of divine coincidence, I had seen a porchetta being prepared on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives just a few days beforehand, so I was anticipating the salty crackling and juicy interior. And I wasn't disappointed, especially with the crunchy, sticky crackling. Essentially this was roast pork with potatoes and apple sauce, but sometimes a meal is much more than the sum of its parts.
|Parma ham pizza|
|The eponymous porchetta|
We sat back for a while before ordering dessert, taking it all in, and trying not to stare too much at the ex-Irish rugby star seated near us. We were warned by the friendly waiter that the panna cotta had not set properly, but that didn't deter us in the slightest, and it was still creamily good (€6.00). I particularly liked that the white chocolate was not throughout the panna cotta but instead came as a thin base.
|Raspberry & white chocolate panna cotta|
Despite only being open a short wet week, Pizza E Porchetta is already a polished affair, which is no surprise given that it comes from experienced Dublin restauranteur Ronan Ryan. I suspect that it's also going to be a good spot for potential celebrity spotting and word is spreading rapidly on Twitter. This means that it's probably also going to be inundated with the beautiful people (grits teeth). Ah well, when something is good, it's not going to stay a secret for long.
Proper Italian restaurants are often simple to the point of pain, and that is a good thing in a world which is sometimes too full of choice. In Pizza E Porchetta, the choice starts with meat, pizza or pasta. Simples. Sit back, sip a Negroni and munch on a crispy pizza. La Vita e bella
Tel: +353 (0)1