If you’re a fan of Chef’s Table, the Netflix docuseries that recently dissected the art of pizza making, Gabriele Bonci will be a household name. He’s the chef who elevated Rome’s “al taglio” pizza from fast food to art. It’s a slice, not a pie, and the base is more like focaccia. It is baked in a long rectangle, loaded with fillings, cut into rectangular slices with scissors, and sold by weight.
There is, of course, much more to Bonci’s al taglio. The heritage flour is stone-ground in a Piedmont mill, its sourdough starter dates back to World War I, and you’ll be just as likely to get chicken comb as mortadella as a filling. Anthony Bourdain caught wind of this madness and came to visit us for his series The Layover; overnight, queues at Bonci’s Pizzarium made the Colosseum look like a sideshow.
Rory Shannon, the chef here, had always had an interest in pizza al taglio, but cooking it wasn’t his plan. But a change of course during the pandemic, serving pizza al taglio on a terrace with three parking spaces, indicated that Foxrock was ready for a change.
Rory Shannon, the chef here, who returned to Dublin in 2019 after years in London, had always had an interest in pizza al taglio, but cooking it wasn’t his plan. Nor was his father’s plan for his old-fashioned restaurant, Bistro One. But a shift in focus during the pandemic, serving pizza al taglio on a repurposed three-car parking deck, signaled Foxrock was ready for a change.
Bistro One is now Pala Pizza Trattoria. Carpets have been ripped up, light wood flooring installed, and shiny new furniture populates the freshly painted room.
We arrive at the equivalent of feeding time at the zoo on a Saturday night, with the exuberance of every well-behaved neighborhood kid reverberating on the hard, shiny surfaces. But it’s not long before the al taglio stuffed toddlers are evacuated, leaving a room of friendly local adults happy to keep the decibel level down.
In addition to a wide selection of pizzas al taglio, ranging from €2.50 to €6, there are antipasti, pasta and grilled meat and fish. The vegetable and olive pickles (€5) are perfect for starters, with a mouth-watering crunch that is sure to tickle your taste buds. A 500ml carafe of Cantina Tollo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (€26) is good value for money from a menu that cleverly offers all wines by the glass, carafe or bottle.
And then it’s straight to the Roman pizza slices, which are served on a wooden board. The long fermentation and high hydration level of this twice-baked dough results in a bubbly honeycomb texture and crispy outer crust. It gets its first blast in a PizzaMaster oven at 3:30 p.m. each day, then a second bake once the toppings have been added to the order.
On the rossa side, a finocchiona (€6) is stacked with Tuscan fennel salami and marinated artichokes on a San Marzano sauce, in many ways more like an open sandwich than the usual pizza. The anchovy and ricotta piazza blanca (€5) is fresh and delicious, with a perfect blend of light cheese and punchy flavors.
The pasta is what would be considered a primo size portion in Italy, so small for a main course. We share a primo dish of tordelli (€15), artisanal ravioli in the shape of a half-moon filled with meat and bathed in a stew with serious flavors of pork, beef and chicken livers, leaving us to lick the plate without shame .
This will be followed by a bone-in rib of beef from Donabate Dexter (€36 for 300g), charred on the Portuguese grill and kept very rare. It’s very tasty, but we end up having it without our potato sides, which we spot on our way to another table.
The calzone dessert is billed as an Italian response to McDonald’s famous apple pie, which at €14 is truly a dish for two. It’s definitely big, covered in a thick caramel sauce. As it is pizza dough, it is considerably more breaded than its American counterpart, and the apple-to-crust ratio could be increased to account for this.
Pala Pizza is solidly positioned in the mid-price category, but the flexibility of slice and small-plate pizza makes it the kind of neighborhood restaurant you can head to for a quick bite with the kids or a friendly catch-up. later in the evening with friends. . Just watch out for potato thieves – who I see as we leave left our golden-crusted tubers untouched. I have no idea who was charged for them. It wasn’t us.
Dinner for two with a carafe of wine was €107
Music: None in the early hours of the evening, maybe it kicks in later.
Source of food: Ring’s Farm chicken, Donabate Dexter beef, Wrights of Marino fish, Castleruddery vegetables.
Vegetarian options: Marinated vegetables, focaccia stuffed with eggplant and grilled tomatoes, suppli, fresh pasta with squash and sage, and pizzas, some of which are vegan.
Wheelchair access: No accessible room or toilet.