It's been four-and-a-half years since my first ever review for Lovin Dublin, and I've had some cracking meals in that time. From 2 Michelin star cooking in Patrick Guilbaud through to finger-licking chicken wings in Skerries and pretty much everything in between.
Dublin has been reborn during those four years, and the food culture that we have here now is starting to become as diverse as any other major global city. We've come an awful long way.
One major factor is the huge influx of young workers in the tech companies, international students, and economic migrants coming here and introducing hugely diverse cuisines, such as Korean, Italian, and Middle Eastern. It's a long way from 'bacon and cabbage' or 'curry chips' they were reared.
While the foreign influences have been an amazing addition to Dublin, it is our homegrown entrepreneurs that are doing most of the groundwork in our foodie revolution.
Many find inspiration abroad and, using their creative skills and raw talent, bring us an entirely new experience in Dublin. My favourite such examples would be the wildly popular Bunsen, Boojum and 3fe. They're hardly re-inventing the wheel by selling burgers, burritos and coffee respectively, but they're not only doing it as well as their peers in other countries, but perhaps even surpassing them. That's genuinely how good they are.
Today I discovered another similar centre of excellence. Unlike some of my other great dining experiences in the capital, there wasn't a waiter or even a table to sit at in sight. Dublin Pizza Company is one of Dublin's smallest restaurants and it's effectively just a hatch. That hatch is on Aungier Street and they serve pizza that's cooked right in front of you.
I ordered a "bufala" and a Coke, for €12, which took exactly three minutes to make. I watched it rolled out in front of me, tossed into the air, and cooked in the 400 degree oven as I waited. Luckily I was early and, being the only customer, I got to use their little ledge to balance my pizza on.
Now writing about food and eating food in general is very subjective. What tastes amazing to me might not float your boat at all. Maybe it was the fact that I was having a mental day and had given myself 15 minutes off for a treat. Maybe it was the late September sun beaming down on me. Maybe it was the fact that the server had asked me for student ID a day short of my 37th birthday, making me smile. Whatever it was, each bite of that pizza was the meal I've enjoyed the most in Dublin in four-and-a-half years writing here. It was succulent, delicious and I practically licked the box clean.
You'll probably head down there and think, "fuck me, what was he drinking when he wrote that review", expecting food sent down from heaven itself, but that would be missing the point. Sometimes the meal is about a moment. As I stood there, listening to their techno blaring out from their little hatch while eating mouthwatering pizza, I might as well have been in Brooklyn, Kreuzberg, Melbourne or Shoreditch. It was worldclass.
So, yeah, a €12 combo from Dublin Pizza Company, eaten at the side of the road, is the best meal I've ever had in Dublin. Amazing how this city takes you by surprise sometimes.