Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review: Skinflint Dublin

After reading reviews of Skinflint here, here, here and here, although they were a mixed bag, I really wanted to like this place. We turned up on a Saturday evening and there were maybe three other people there in the small space. Along with the name, the aesthetic is "recession chic" (I hate these coined terms, along with the dreaded, ubiquitous "pop-up"). Old doors serve as tables, industrial lighting over each table, higgledy piggledy picture arrangements and the seats are high stools at communal tables.

As has been well documented, the pizzas have each been given the name of a staff member's mother. So far, so twee. We went for the mozzerella sticks served with a chili jam. Where food, is basically using just one ingredient, you better make bloody sure it's the best quality ingredient you can find. Skinflint falls on it's face here. The cheese was dull as mildly cheesey dishwater. The chilli jam was better - sweet with a slight kick.

When the star of the show arrived, the pizza, we were ready to dig in. Although we were hungry, we couldn't have managed a full one each, so shared an "Angela" between two. Described as having grana, mozzerella, pecorino, thyme and sauted onion. It arrived at our table, with a little ceremony involved at the altar of pizza. Instead of the rounds we're used to, it looked like it had been through a stretching machine, which resulted in a long rectangle. The waitress, brandishing a shiny mezzaluna, wasted no time in slicing it into manageable slices.

We got stuck in quickly, but anticipation soon ebbed away with each bite. I would describe it as a totally joyless affair. Skinflint's much lauded use of Odlums flour in their base, complete with pallets of it in the corner, just does not hold up. It was so thin, as to almost resemble a cracker. The three day fermentation process that they profess the dough goes through, could not be tasted, because it was just so thin. Here we have a case of bigger would actually have been better. The mix of different cheeses were not discernible. The most overpowering flavours was the onion, which was sweet and succulent and the thyme, but I don't really look to a pizza to get my herby kicks. When you order pizza, you take for granted a tomato sauce, but if you're looking for that here, forget it. Essentially were were served some expensive cheese on crackers, it was not pizza.

Accompanying this we ordered the roasties. My god, it's hard to get a roasted potato wrong, but somehow they managed it. A good roast potato should be crispy on the outside, fluffy inside. Skinflints roasties, still had the skin on, which is fine for wedges, not so on roasties. They were a sad, soggy business that I wouldn't want to repeat.

Being veggie, I haven't experienced the food in Skinflint's sister restaurants Crackbird and Jo'Burger, where I understand it's a case of classics done good, sometimes with little twists. With pizza, it's already achieved that level of perfection all by itself. It doesn't need to be messed with. Skinflint tried and I'm sorry but it fails.

The atmosphere is nice here, service was friendly but the most important thing, it's food, lets it down massively. It's great that Skinflint has created new jobs, great that they support Irish suppliers, but they greatly need to work on the food.

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