So this one may be a bit controversial given the recent pretty tough Lovin Dublin review … but here is my two cents worth!
I visited the newly opened Nolita on George’s Street this week with a couple of friends for a midweek catch up. We’d previously eaten in the same building when it was Soder + Ko and I wasn’t overly impressed… so much so that I never stepped foot back in there and wasn’t all that surprised that it closed and has now re opened as an Italian restaurant and bar. I’d seen photos online of their pizzas and being a bit of a pizza fiend, suggested it as an option for our meet up. Then the Lovin Dublin review happened, but we said we’d keep our reservation and make our own minds up.
First up, the premises. It’s stunning, both outside and inside.
Many a euro must have been spent on the refurb and it really is fab. The leather booths, beautiful mixes of wood finishes and fancy light fixtures all add to the New York style restaurant vibe resulting in a restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in the Meat Packing District. It was unexpectedly quiet given that it’s a newly opened restaurant in such a great location but it was only a Tuesday evening.
We got seated and began looking over the menu.
Starters included garlic pizza bread, bruschetta a la Sicilianna, salt cured tuna, chicken meatballs, calamari and mussels. The main course menu offers a decent selection of pizzas, then a few pastas, salads, fish dishes and the red meat option is a Rib Eye.
We were told there was no tuna starter left and no mac & cheese side (which I wanted… sadface) . We decided on the Bruschetta a la Sicilianna and a garlic pizza bread to share. The garlic pizza was good, nicely heavy on the garlic and cheese but not so much that it would leave me too full for my main. The bruschetta was nice enough, the toasted bread was served with caponata ( a mix of veggies, courgette, onion, celery, tomatoes) and pine nuts along with rocket. We did feel like it was a little bland and just lacked a little bit of life in the dish though. Apologies for the picture lighting!
For mains I chose a salad and side (knowing that I could nab a few pieces of pizza from the girls 🙂 ) and they both got pizzas. I went with the Bietole salad of salt baked beetroot with whipped ricotta a baby leaf salad and a side of courgette chips with aioli. I felt the portion size of the salad small as a main course to be honest but the thinly sliced beetroot was lovely. The courgette chips were something new to me and I enjoyed them along with the strong aioli.
Both pizzas were nice, nothing out of this world but fine… however the gorgonzola one with carmalised onions and mushrooms was pretty scarce on the toppings!
For dessert we wanted the Cannoli but that wasn’t available, neither was the Espresso Zabaglione … so choices were limited. We chose the Apple Crostata, and I can’t say much good about it. The pastry was cold, dense and hard and the apple was quite non-descript.
So in all… service was fine, the restaurant was beautiful and the food was average. I do have to agree with Niall Harbison on this one when he says it was “not good, not bad, just grand”.
I wanted to love this place, but I feel that at the moment it’s more suited to somewhere you want to go for a catch up over some wine and cocktails and maybe share a few pizzas, with the food being very much secondary. I read many comments under the LD review saying give them a chance, they are only new and I do get that they are newly opened but if I’m honest I don’t see that as an excuse for food being not great and so many items being off the menu.. if you aren’t ready to open, don’t open. I also saw someone say it was the best pizza they’d had in Dublin and I’m afraid if that’s the best pizza you’ve had in Dublin you are trying the wrong places.
One other small gripe…on the day, we needed to change our reservation by half an hour so I called the number on their website for about 5 hours, each time just getting the Soder + Ko voicemail. In the end I contacted them through Twitter and amended our booking that way but it’s not ideal for a restaurant to not answer the phone all day long, they could be missing out on many bookings which could easily add to the empty tables in the restaurant.
Wine and cocktails list below.