BURZZA

53 John Street
Waterford
Phone: 051 844 969

Burzza.com

Burzza is clearly a place that didn’t just happen. It has all the hallmarks of a very carefully thought through concept that was thoughtfully made into a reality. On paper, it sounds mildly interesting. In reality, it’s a great place to eat.

Of course, on one level, it’s a place that does pizza and burgers. And chicken wings. At that rate of going, it could be pretty well anywhere and the chances are – given that most Irish people who are drawn regularly to these modern restaurant staples don’t care much what they eat – it could be grim.

But, on the other hand, a great hamburger is a thing of a joy forever; and pizza, in the right hands and made with the right raw materials, can be one of the great simple dishes of the world. I know there are so-called “foodies” (a word, incidentally, which makes my skin creep and my stomach turn over) who would rather starve than even cross the threshold of a restaurant that specialises in such dishes but that, to be quite honest, tells you a lot more about them than it does about the best expressions of this kind of cooking.

It’s a relief that this kind of person – whose manifold insecurities gets expressed in their approach to food – will almost certainly eschew Burzza in Waterford, because it will leave all the more room for the rest of us. It’s not a big establishment and it’s probably the busiest place in town.

Facebook.com/Burzza

You know almost immediately that you’re in good hands. The drinks list suggests an Aperol spritz (a combination of Aperol, an orange-based cousin of Campari that’s big in Venice, with Prosecco served over ice) for a modest €6.90. There’s the reassurance of high quality organic Italian flour in the pizzas, and the name checking of excellent producers, like Toons Bridge, makers of buffalo mozzarella in north Cork.

And there’s the bare tables, the friendly service, the cross-section of people, from a gaggle of teenage girls to middle-aged couples and the odd first date. Burzza is a splendidly democratic place and you would feel comfortable sticking your elbows on the table. Oh, yes, and prices are reasonable (especially when you consider the size of the pizzas which weigh in at 12 ½ inches).

In the hamburgers, the beef (from a local butcher, named on the menu) is properly aged and has that hint of gameiness that is the only true reason for eating hamburgers.  You can also have smoked Knockanore cheese (made by neighbours of ours near Tallow), the proper buffalo mozzarella from Toons Bridge, homemade relish (tart and spicy but mellow at the same time) and thin, crisp pieces of bacon from Crowes’ Farm up in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary.

Pizzas are vast, just the right thickness, charred very slightly in all the right places and, in short, amongst the very best in the country.

So, yes, it’s all very carefully thought through. The details are all meticulous. And the proof is in the eating and in the sense of well-being that a trip to Burzza engenders, even in an old cynic like me.