By John Paul Le Bon – August 2018
As soon as you eyeball the expansive floor to ceiling window front of Pi Pizza and peer beyond into what seems like a vast space, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped off South Great Georges Street and into somewhere in SoHo or Brooklyn. An enormous matte black and faded terracotta tiled wood fired dome oven, complete with oversized chrome flue, dominate the minimalist space. The seating is wonderfully eclectic, an array of tables, booths, high tables and window shelf seating all come together in a sort of crazy interior anti–floor plan that shouldn’t work but oh so does. One wall is entirely made up of unlabeled tomato pulp cans producing a brilliant silvery texture that is in perfect harmony with, and offsets, the matte black structural girders, catwalk and ventilation features. But the showstopper, is undoubtedly what appears to be a hanging kitchen, finished in white butcher tiles and suspended menacingly over the pizza chefs heads, this thing looks like a derailed Lower East Side subway about to come toppling onto the restaurant floor.
As you’d expect from the peeps that brought us Foodgame on Shelbourne Road, the illustratively designed one sheet menu is simple and bursting with quality. With just eight pies to choose from you’d think it would be an easy decision; it was not. The pizzas are split into two types, crushed tomato and Bianca (white pizza). There’s optional extras to add, like ‘Hen of the Woods’ mushrooms and Nduja, some fine home made dips; Chipotle mayo, roast garlic and herb mayo, and our choice, basil aioli. Two desserts complete the menu, vanilla ice cream (not the ordinary kind, this one is served with extra virgin olive oil and Maldon sea salt) and a chocolate Budino, a type of chocolate pot. A condensed wine list by the bottle and glass, an expertly picked selection of beers plus some delicious soft drinks (see Old Jamaica Ginger Beer).
My pizza compadre and I (editor of this publication) deliberated for a good ten mins before we settled with the Margherita and the Zucca, “what’s a Zucca?”, I hear you say, an unbelievably delicious white pizza with two varieties of zucchini (that’s courgette to you and me), house ricotta (no words can describe), basil, garlic, salsa verde and Grana Padano topping with a killer double zero flour base. I’ve really never been one for crust but this one was the yin and yang of chewy and crispy with a yeasty depth that could keep you carbed up all day, everyday. The Margherita was that rare, sublime thing, the most basic combination executed to the highest standard. Our basil aioli made the two pizzas sing. The gold teaspoon that arrived to serve the dip just had us totally made up. This was the best pizza I’ve had outside of the Amalfi Coast and Southwest of France.
We just loved the tight, simple beer and wine list. Just nine beers and ciders, seven (our favourite number) wines, including a sparkly. The hot day that it was, and having only left the office, the boss and I were gasping for a cold beer. I went for the Ichnusa, an Italian unfiltered beer (filtered is so 2017) and Gus went with a 33cl can of Fathom IPA. We were not disappointed. Lots of “oohs!” and “ahhs!” – happy punters. Pricey though coming in six blips minimum each for a small bottle and can, but so damn refreshing. Next time I’ll be perusing the old world wines, the Senso Sangiovese particularly standing out.
So refreshing to go to a new place and be met with friendliness, professionalism and calmness. A bunch of good energy humans all over their game. Well brought up bucks that we are, we opted for cutlery with our pizza, not the done thing here at Pi, a slight eyebrow was raised by our server but she cheerfully returned with the coolest matte black, weighty instruments. Would happily return for the staff alone.
The pies range from €9 to €16 – great value when you weigh up the craftsmanship and quality. Add ons and extras are all super reasonable. I did feel that the pricing was off for the beers. Maybe that’s something the management can look at but other than that, really well considered price points. Our damage came to €41 for two pies, two beers and a dip. Money well spent for sure.
The Overall Vibe
The Pi guys have nailed it. Can’t wait for my next pizza hit. 7 Deadly Things says “yes please!”