The News From Dublin
PIZZA IN OUR TIME... AT YARN
It’s part of the big Woollen Mills complex – the clue is in the neon sign that proclaims, rather seductively, “Pizzas & Booze” and is largely roof terrace, enclosed and heated now that Autumn is with us.
“We thought the name was just the right amount of cheesy and pun-esque; yarn-wool and yarn-story... get it?,” she tells me. “It’s captained by Nicky Higgins (brother of Conor Higgins of Oxmantown and Cotto pizza... let the dough brother wars begin!) and Nickie Connolly, cocktail guru extraordinaire and our 'working class wine guy'.”
Sommelier Sean Gargano, who used to be at San Lorenzo’s has lent a hand with the drinks lists and he also has a pizza named after him, which involves classic Bolognese with bechamel.
“We decided that there were enough fantastic pizza joints serving extraordinary Neapolitan pies and that actually, we wanted something a little easier to share, a little easier to pick up and a little crisper,” says Elaine. “We didn't want a base quite as crispy as a Roma pie and so, after Ian Connolly, our executive chef, returned from a week of training in a pizza academy in Lazio, along with his chief pizza maker, we realised the style we were after was an 'Italiano' base, softer than a Roma but cooked at the same temperature, and with a Neapolitan style crust. The closest in style would be a New York pizza which was brought from Napoli and adapted to American tastes so as to create a pickable-upable slice. The toppings are inspired by Ian's trip to to Lazio but with lots of Irish and American influences also.”
I can report that the pizzas are, indeed, first rate and, yes, very easy to pick up. I can also report that Yarn does the most dleightful crisp chicken wings the crust of which involves whole cumin seeds.
Formal it ain’t, praise the Lord. “Most of our beers can be served in cans,” says Elaine, “and as well as continuing to serve the fantastic Five Lamps lager and Liberties Ale from Dublin 8, we have thrown in some exciting little specials like Brewdog Punk, Breakfast Stout, Rascal's Ginger Porter, some gems from Magic Rock and a healthy collection of IPAs, sours, stouts and ciders, as well as guest draught lager and pale ales.”
The enthusiasm for the spritz is carried through from The Woollen Mills with the usual Aperol with sparkling wine and soda but also with passionfruit and Prosecco. I want to try the devilishly clever Chambord, wine and soda. Naturally.
In addition there various sours (consider whiskey and hibiscus) and comforting milky cococtions involving, for example bourbon.
Even better it’s now open 7 nights a week.
Elaine tells me that the Legal Eagle project is taking longer than anticipated as is often the case with very old buildings. However, some interesting original features have come to light during the refurbishment and it’s now hoped to open in the New Year – January at the very earliest. However with a menu that promises to feature hare ravioli and Elaine’s energy and magic it will doubtless be worth the wait.
CAPO POPS UP
Ronan Ryan (late of Town Bar & Grill) and Pamela Flood have created a weekly pop-up in their immensely successful Counter Culture which moved, back in July, to Mercer Street at the back of the College of Surgeons. The initial plan, starting on 7 October, is to open on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner but on Wednesday and Thursday for the bar and light bites.
“When the evening comes we throw on the crisp table cloths,” Ronan tells me. “And we polish the glasses, get the lighting right.”
The menu, which you can see on the new website here, is what you might loosely call Cal-Ital.
JAMES WHELAN SPREADS MORE MEATY HAPPINESS
James Whelan Butchers, originally of Clonmel and with branches in Monkstown, Rathcoole, Kilmacanogue and Rathmines have just opened their latest outlet in Cornelscourt. If you want to know what is so special about JWB, now run by the inspirational Pat Whelan, read what I have to say about them here.
In addition, you can pop along and get some Iberico pork (or order it online; you don’t have to live in Clonmel or the greater Dublin area as they have a terrific delivery service). This is from pigs which have foraged in the wild and grown fat and delicious on acorns. The difference? Well, it has to be tasted to be believed. It’s not just a question of flavour, the texture is very different too.
Incidentally, JWB offers courses in butchery (it’s my ambition to take one and soon) and they are also looking for people who want to join their team and learn the trade. For any young person (or not so young) who is genuinely interested in real food, this is a fantastic opportunity. More information at JamesWhelanButchers.com.
ALDI GETS INTO REAL BEER
Just time to mention, albeit briefly, that Aldi’s Beer Festival is in full swing at the moment with thirty Irish craft beers on parade from all over the country. I love West Waterford’s Mine Head American Pale Ale from Dungarvan, Mescan Westport Blond Beer and Carrig’s Coalface IPA in particular.