Meal Ticket: Honest Pizza, Dame Lane, Dublin 2

   
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Honest PIzza

  • 12 Dame Court, Dublin 2
  • 01 6337727
  • Italian

Poor old pizza gets a bad rap – it finds scant love among the low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, clean-eating brigade. A shame when the thin-crusted, wood-fired variety offers little in the way of stodge and a lot in the way of flavour. They’ve cottoned on to this at Honest Pizza, the sister restaurant of healthy eating café Honest To Goodness.

Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 5pm-10pm, Honest occupies a lovely, high-ceilinged room looking down over bustling Dame Court. Green banquettes line the room, with a large wood-fired oven in one corner, an open kitchen and bar alongside it and seating for about 30 people at white tables. Staff are friendly (and accommodating when some of the menu items have sold out).

The menu is, as you’d expect, pizza-focused with 10 thin-crusted varieties. There’s a half dozen starters/sides, a few salads and an antipasto board. Drinks include classic cocktails, red, white and sparkling wines and a good selection of beers, including Italian favourites, such as My Antonia and Re ale (both €7).

The wood-fired oven is used for more than just the pizzas here; roasted peperoncino peppers (€5) are blackened in the fire, with the flesh underneath varying between sweet and hot. The hotter ones are cooled with a dunk in some lime yoghurt.

Baked artichoke hearts (€6) are a big hit; juicy and warm, wrapped in crispy prosciutto and served with charred sourdough and thick flakes of parmesan.

The salads (all €12) are proper salads – thanks, no doubt, to the healthy sister café downstairs. They’re crammed with interesting ingredients and are large enough to fill even a belly that was expecting a whole pizza. There’s smoked duck with walnut pesto and greens or a burrata with grilled aubergine and tomato. We order a seafood salad with squid, mussels, prawns, smoked mackerel and fennel, but it’s off the menu tonight, so instead we’re offered a salad with some prawns off the starter menu. These mouth-searingly spicy chilli prawns (€8) are again cooked in the wood-fired oven, served over charred sourdough and some seriously good aioli, with large chunks of sweet roasted garlic (perhaps not the best choice if you’re on a date).

The pizzas come with wafer-thin bases, holding toppings such as fennel sausage, tomato, fior di latte/mozzarella and tenderstem broccoli (€14) or wilted spinach, speck, fior di latte, cherry tomato and a free range egg (€14). We try a portobello and truffle pizza bianco – a Roman speciality that has no tomato sauce, but instead a “white” base of garlic, rosemary and oregano and topped with lots of cheese (fior di latte and parmesan), truffle oil, basil and slices of portobello mushroom.

A generous glass of Syrah di Sicilia (€7) is a good balance to the creamy pizza, which is incredibly filling thanks to the combination of cheese and truffle oil. You can take away your leftovers, but we persevered . . . for research purposes, of course.