Platform Pizza Bar
7 Strand Road
Phone: 01 538 4000
Irish Daily Mail
31 October 2015
I went to Bray in search of burgers and I ended up eating pizza. Well, you might say, this wasn’t one of yer man’s most culinarily daring expeditions; it was hardly an exploration of the dizzying heights of gastronomy.
There may be something in that, but there’s nothing wrong with a proper burger and there are times when only a burger will do. Pizza, I would argue, can be art; a fine, thin-crusted pizza with proportionate topping, done lovingly from scratch, is a thing of delight.
Industrial pizza and burgers are, however, the stuff of nutritional nightmares (all those refined carbohydrates, processed fats and alleged cheese) and aesthetic meltdown. They make me shudder.
Platform, a vast, vaguely barn-like restaurant on the seafront was close to full, while the burger joint next door was closed. On a wet Tuesday night, it was jammers, with a decibel level to match.
I had entered the premises purely to assuage hunger; now I was intrigued as to what bait, so to speak, lured these people out when they could be at home heating up something in the microwave.
Platform describes itself as serving pizza and beer in a “rustic, industrial” setting, which may sound contradictory but it’s is true up to a point. It’s industrial, to be sure, in that it looks a bit like a warehouse in which a restaurant has popped up. The “rustic” I don’t really get but there’s a heartening selection of real beers.
And there are pizzas, of course, almost twenty of them. In addition, they do lots of other things too. Too many, one suspects, from sea bream and grilled asparagus to lasagne and (just to add a bit of extra carbohydrate, no doubt), shoestring fries.
We started with the irresistibly described Pork, Beef and Tayto Meatball. We reckoned that this never featured in the repertoire of Elizabeth David, Anna del Conte or Marcella Hazan but, equally, that they may have been missing a trick, being denied access to one of the key ingredients.
I have experience of cooking with Tayto myself. The trick is to use a lot of the nation’s favourite crisp (the original cheese and onion version is the choice of sybarites like myself), well crunched (rolling pin applied firmly but gently to the unopened pack) and then used to top such dishes as macaroni cheese and eggs mornay.
I thought that Platform had discovered a new use for Tayto but what came to the table were a few very dense, almost hard, meatballs that tasted of, well, rather undistinguished meatball, liberally anointed with a red sauce that tasted of tomato and not of the promised “spicy” element. Oh, and there was a little topping of grated Parmesan which, for a brief happy moment, I thought might be very finely crushed Tayto.
Chicken wings were above average but I’m tired of dishing out plaudits for doing properly and correctly something so simple. On the other hand, bad wings are legion.
These were crisp, the sauce that I chose from a range of five was the second hottest and perfectly fine. The notion that Platform was packed on a Tuesday because it’s cheap was scotched by the fact that this modest bowlful weighed in at €7.50.
A pepperoni pizza was okay. The tomato element didn’t have that raw, industrial taste that mars so many pizzas. The topping was generous enough, but so it should be at €12. The edges were crisp but, as so often happens, the central area flopped when cut.
This didn’t happen, interestingly enough, with my spelt pizza. I like the idea of spelt, a primitive form of wheat which may not cause quite so many sensitivities as the modern strains. I also like the taste, which can be a little nutty.
My pizza – topped with blue cheese, caramelised onion and pancetta – didn’t flop; it behaved like a big biscuit. I suspect the base was precooked, marginally more attractive than a beer mat and made bearable by generous toppings and my considerable hunger. This appeared on the menu at €14. Was I disappointed? I’ll take that as a rhetorical question.
We finished with a slice of “freshly baked American cheesecake” which was a slice of stodge. I’d hate to think what it would have been like if it had not been “freshly baked”. This was €6 worth of an afterthought. Coffees were fine.
With a glass of beer and three glasses of wine, the bill came to €74. Service was efficient and charming.