Thursday, July 16, 2015

Basil Wood Fired Pizza and Café

Although I love pizza (who doesn’t?!), I’m still a long way short of trying a lot of the purported best pizza spots in Dublin. I mean the Independent Pizza Company and Da Mimmo are at least close by, but I’ve yet to try the likes of Di Fontaine’s, Manifesto or Paulie’s. Shocking, I know! Especially since all I’ve been dreaming of lately is up and flying to Naples so I can finally try the undisputed best Neapolitan pizza. Thing is, that’s expensive, and not a realistic option for whenever I crave a wood-fired slice. Luckily, I spotted a somewhat-hidden but conveniently located place that provided the perfect solution: ‘Basil’, a recently opened wood-fired pizza joint/café in Ringsend.

And when I initially drove past it, I’m pretty sure I had to double take! It had the look of an almost hole-in-the-wall, street food type of location that had popped up overnight. But I could have sworn I spotted a few chairs? Not to mention I hadn’t seen whether or not they actually did pizza, but the name was teasing it. A quick Google after I got home revealed it was like nothing I’d really seen before, but either way my interested had been piqued and there was definitely going to be some pizza had. No complaints there! Fast forward a week later and Rebecca was at a hen party for the day, so I took a big old stroll through the city centre to work up the appropriate appetite for a pizza feast.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Basil is the somewhat cobbled-together look of the place. The gentlemen behind it all spent a good three months seemingly throwing everything and the kitchen sink into building it, so don’t be surprised if you spot cable rollers, a shipping container, old garden fencing and even a Buddha statue or two. Literally everything has been reclaimed from somewhere. The floors are lined with a faux grass carpet and canopies stick out over the tables from pretty much every direction! It all combines wonderfully to give the place a bit of an eclectic yet homely feel, like you were having lunch in the garden of that one friend who takes their mindfulness just a little bit more seriously than others. I am wondering what it’ll be like come the winter since there is only the one small indoor space, but for a nice summer’s day it could not be more perfect.

Speaking of how much effort went into building up the place, even the oven itself was entirely hand-made! And what comes out of it is definitely up there with some of the best pizza Dublin can offer, let me tell you. I ordered a plain Margherita and another with pepperoni, although the way in which you order means that you’re able to build practically any pizza you like from a list of extra toppings. Margherita is the default and you go from there; nice and uncomplicated. And starting at only €7 for a nine inch pizza (€10 for a twelve incher), Basil offers pretty much the best value you’ll find either side of the Liffey.

The pizza itself is amazing, everything I had been hoping for. The base was chewy and the crust good and crispy, perfect sauce to cheese ratio with neither overpowering the other. That said, the mozzarella is cut nice and thick so it really stands out. All too often you end up with overly cheesy pizza where the sauce is pretty much drowned out or invisible; complete sin in my book, but they got it absolutely spot on here. It’s no wonder I ended up scoffing most of the leftovers I meant to save for Rebecca (sorry! …I’m not). My only criticism is that the menu champions the pizza coming with basil and in my case at least, it was sorely missing. I asked for it myself in the end and it was happily produced, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to forget given is literally the name of the restaurant!  

They also do the rarely spotted and much fabled dessert pizza, which I am absolutely guaranteed to get no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Their version is a soft base, smothered in Nutella with banana, raspberries and cream to finish it off. Absolute decadence, you only need to look at the picture! …Although I did have to share the leftovers of that one.

Pizza aside, Basil also offers tea and coffee, as well as scoops of gelato at €1.50 a pop. They take great pride in sourcing the coffee beans which are roasted in Wicklow, and although I’m by no means a coffisseur, the latte I got wasn’t overpowering and tasted very nice. It’s a lovely spot to have a sit down and drink on a suitable day but good luck resisting the pizza if that’s not what you’re visiting for.

One final note: I was pleased to see a steady flow of people coming in and out while I was there, especially considering the wind was nearly blowing the entire place away! They’ve been open for just under three months, so it’s still very much in its infancy and word of mouth goes a long way at this point. And that being said, Basil is definitely a place people should be talking about. I mean what’s not to love about good quality, unpretentious and cheap pizza? I am still curious to see how they adjust going into the colder end of the year, but as the menu itself proclaims, they are constantly evolving so I’m sure it’ll be fine. Once the pizza stays that good, I’ll keep going back no matter what the weather! 

97, Ringsend Road,
Dublin 4

Tph: 01-2325600


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