Note: This winebar is now called Piglet
A Dublin estate agent would be pushed to their limits to find the acceptable word to describe the scale of the kitchen in La Dolce Vita, on Cow’s Lane in Temple Bar.
The kitchen is smaller than petite. Micro kitchen? Nano kitchen? Shoe-horned kitchen? Shrunken galley kitchen? Honey, I shrunk the kitchen kitchen?
And yet, the food that comes out of that kitchen is big, bold and brassy with flavour, the perfect food to match with the sublime wines that Thibaud Harang and Enrico Fantasia have gathered for their venture.
Want to know how to get the best from LDV? Ingore the dishes on the blackboard and ask M. Harang to bring some little eats, and then some bigger eats. So, we started with a glass of Vorgeschmack Veltliner and Riesling, to go with a board of lardo with anchovy fillet and olive; there was an oyster, and an anchovy cream. Ham came with sweet almonds, and cured ham chopped with capers. Two little meatballs sat on a slice of sourdough, and two duck gizzards did likewise.
A duo of musicians – guitar and voice, squeezed up into the window-well – began to play and sing.
I mean, c’mon man: this la dolce vita, here in Temple Bar.
Our somewhat bigger bowl of cavatelli al ragu had soft, toothy pasta with a white ragu, and lots of Parmesan. Just lovely.
M. Harang took care of the wines: a glass of Il Casolare Rosso; a vivid and exciting Auxerre from close to Chablis.
And then a little kilner jar of pannacotta, topped with some rhubarb compote, and a small glass of moscato d’Asti.
We sat at the bar, the musicians played, the chef did his incredible Houdini act, liberating great food from a kitchen the size of a wardrobe.
Size doesn’t matter. Expertise does, and M. Harang – who has worked for the last 5 years in Pichet – and his team have it: they know how to make la dolce vita real, they know how to put it on a plate and pour it into a glass.
La Dolce Vita, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2