You can see how it happened. In recent years, backers and restaurateurs have become less willing to take a risk on an original restaurant concept. Some have been burned. Others have backed lame ideas that would never work, regardless of the commercial climate. More still have been the victims of having zero imagination.
The result has been, in Dublin at least, a glut of identikit restaurants that all take their cues, often a little too literally, from what was fashionable in London, or New York, a few years ago. If a restaurant concept can make it there, it seems, it can make it anywhere. And restaurants have all become, well, just a bit too predictable – there must be a new Dublin restaurant checklist doing the rounds – exposed brickwork: check; wrought iron fixtures: check; bare bulbs: check; upcycled timber: check; an emphasis on steaks: check; a further emphasis on cocktails: check; Chesterfield banquette seating: Check… Check… Check… Check please! It’s almost enough to make you fall asleep in your hand-mashed heirloom potatoes.
So when someone has the meatballs to take a bit of a risk with an original interior design and concept, you kind of have to give them props. And when they do it with an offering that doesn’t break the bank, in a room that looks like nowhere else, you have the restaurant that might make January just a little more bearable. Honest Pizza, on Dame Court (next door to Odessa) has been brought into being by the partners behind Honest to Goodness (the super healthy lunch and brunch joint). It’s pizza, yes, nothing new there, but it’s pizza done to the point where one can finally say there’s a decent pizza offering in Dublin 2 worth visiting. (How has that taken so long!?)
On the menu, think considered topping combos like Truffle & Portobello (€13); the peppery richness of a well-sourced Fennel Sausage (€13), or the simplicity of a classic Marinara (€10). There are a few well-considered sides too, and for dessert, choose between a Rum Baba (€6), Chocolate & Amaretti Pudding (€6) or the throw-caution-to-the-wind-and-just-go-for-it Nutella, Banana and Ricotta Baked Doughnut (€5). They also have a whopper selection of Italian wines, craft beers and spritzes on offer, so you can make a bit of an evening of it – a celebratory, yet financially sound, january blow-out if the notion takes you. And sure why wouldn’t it? No reservations necessary – just rock up and enjoy.
Honest Pizza is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 5 to 10pm.
12 Dame Court, Dublin 2, 01 633 7727; honestpizza.ie