Gaillot et Gray has opened in a former bookie's premises on Lower Clanbrassil Street, just a stones throw away from the hot newcomer restaurant Bastible, and next door to the craft beer pub 57 The Headline. Slowly, bit by bit, this area of Dublin is getting gussied up. In my opinion,t he City Council could also greatly help matters by installing some proper pedestrian traffic lights at the stupidly designed Leonard's Corner.
This French pizzeria and bakery is the next evolution from the retro Citroen van in which husband and wife team Gilles Gaillot and Emma Gray started out. (It's also very handy that their surnames blend together rather well.) The interior is open and sparse, painted in the shade that Tom Doorley has recently christened "Hipster Slate". I like that description very much. It somehow captures the grim earnest determination that oft accompanies such venues.
There's a big communal table, a scattering of smaller tables, barstools at shallow window shelves and an outdoor terrace. The room is really dominated by the kitchen space, at the heart of which sits the brick, wood-fired pizza oven that is used to churn out the Emmental-based pizzas. No mozzarella here. The kitchen also functions as a working bakery turning out brioche, loaves and pastries, and I spotted a stack of proofing baskets tucked neatly away for the next bake.
|The kitchen at Gaillot et Gray|
It's pretty busy when we arrive on a Saturday evening. The early supper crowd, aka those with kids, are in situ, and the later, kid-free wave is yet to arrive. We end up seating ourselves at two high window stools, which seem to my arse to be the size of a bicycle saddle. There's an open tin containing a bundle of pizza cutters, along with salt, pepper and chill-infused Irish rapeseed oil. Now, I'm going to indulge myself with a little rant here. I just don't like rapeseed oil, not one iota, and I wish it would all just bog off to whatever miserable field it came from. I find it tastes green and bitter, and not in a good way. Adding chilis is just adding insult to injury.
Right, back to the the food. The pizzas arrive promptly, served on large metal platters which they overhang slightly. We grab two cutters and get stuck in. I had ordered the merguez pizza (€15) with mushroom and onion, imagining some nice spicy warmth. I have very fond memories of a teenage summer spent in France, learning the language and becoming aware of the glorious merguez. Instead, I find it flat and rather dull, with a gentle note of fennel and not much else. In contrast, his chorizo and fresh chili pizza (€14) is bright and punchy. Both pizzas have nicely thin and crispy bases, which don't prove too heavy on the digestion.
|Chorizo and fresh chili pizza|
|Merguez, onion and mushroom pizza|
The pizza menu is short and simple, listed on an old-style pin board, with prices ranging from €10 to €15. It's currently operating a BYOB policy, but we stuck to sparkling water. However, with 57 The Headline just around the corner, it's perfectly possible to pick up some good craft beer to go with your pizza.
Gaillot et Gray, 59 Lower Clanbrassil Street, Dublin 8
Tel: +353 (0)1 454 7781