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Grub Spy: Slice of heaven

If you’re looking for authentic Italian pizza that’s a crust above the rest, then Temple Bar diner Sano should be topping your list

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Some of the amazing pizzas on offer.

Some of the amazing pizzas on offer.

Inside the pizzeria.

Inside the pizzeria.

A Menabrea beer.

A Menabrea beer.

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Some of the amazing pizzas on offer.

I was just reminiscing, as I sat in a buzzing Sano pizzeria on Exchange Street watching the first proper rainfall I’d seen in weeks, how up until 2009 I was never really hooked into pizza: I did like it, especially those deep-pan New York versions, but I never could get into raptures over it, nor could I understand how some guys considered pizza like a weird foodie religion.

SANO PIZZA
1-2 Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
Four Stars
Food €14.90; Drinks €5

Then Naples happened, and everything changed. How? Well, we were in Rome for a few days, and decided to visit Pompeii – and since we had to change trains in Naples we elected to stay overnight.

Talk about an assault on the senses: the noise, the smells, the jam-packed narrow streets, the staggering beauty of its ancient buildings: everything hit us right in the chops. Later on, in a tiny pizzeria with a wood-fired oven, we tasted Neapolitan pizza for the first time. The experience was like exquisite slices of simple pleasure. I was hooked immediately.

Pizza at Sano is like a slice out of that time. The base is deliciously stretchy and pillow-light, the all-important char-blistered corniccione is spot-on: and the toppings – piles of fresh rocket leaves just starting to wilt from the heat, gorgeous freshly grated Parmesan, lots of good quality salty Parma ham, melty stringy mozzarella and a rich tomato sauce laced with a nutty-flavoured olive oil, they are all close to ambrosial.

I say close, because I do prefer a bit more of a herby-spicy kick in my margherita tomato sauce – not a complaint, just saying. Either way, as heavenly baked-pizza aromas permeate around my table, I do so devour my scrumptious 12’ Rucola. As sooner is one forkful vanishes into my face I’m busy preparing the next.

That’s how I always know a top quality Neapolitan: I can’t stop wolfing until there’s nothing left but crusty bones (which I also devour). At this point I should mention a malty-hop-y beer that is perfectly made for glugging with pizza. Menabrea. Usually I have another very well-known Italian beer in a blue bottle, but this Menabrea is now a seriously tasty challenger.

Because I’m enjoying the afternoon so much, I decide to go the full hog and finish with a pistachio cream cannoli. I’m glad I do. Crispy, creamy, delicate, and bursting with pistachio flavour – pretty much how a cannoli should be. There’s one other reason why I like Sano so much.

I know it is created and owned by two Irish brothers – but the cheery Italian voices of the pizzaiolo and other staff lend a genuine Italian vibe.

On one level it is glaringly obvious why Neapolitan pizza is so beloved and so successful. Think about it. What other deeply satisfying reasonably priced one-course meal can you enjoy literally anywhere, anytime, with anybody, in less than two minutes.

And although Naples is truly the spiritual home of pizza undeniably Italian, nowadays there is also something totally global about it. Like Neapolitans we Irish know how to embrace life, love and football and good food. I’m very glad to see the guys at Sano have got through the apocalypse. They deserve our support. And we deserve them.

Quick Bites

Two of our favourite treats have just come together — and the results are, ahem, holey delicious.

Krispy Kreme and Nestlé put their heads together and came up with this limited edition Toffee Crisp doughnut called the Toffee Krispy. And the combination of crispy cereal and soft caramel smothered in a smooth chocolatey coating then drizzled with sticky toffee sauce is every bit as yum as it sounds.

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The ring doughnut (€2.95) is available at Krispy Kreme Blanchardstown Store, The Rocket at Dundrum Town Centre and participating Tesco and Circle K stores until October 10.
Or go the ‘hole’ hog with the Sticky Toffee doughnut (€2.95), filled with rich toffee and wrapped in chocolately icing and chewy toffee pieces, another new pairing from the two cheat day giants.
Check out krispykreme.ie or follow @KrispyKremeIRL and @nestleuki on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Have you got foodie news we should know about?Email quickbites@sundayworld.com

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