Thursday 4 October 2012

Manifesto,208 Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, Dublin

It feels cosy in Manifesto. The wooden-fired oven beside the entrance makes the place warm and the smell of freshly baked pizza opens your appetite. The décor is simple, with brick walls and white tablecloths. It’s welcoming and classier than most of the Italian restaurants you find in Dublin city centre.

I rarely eat in Italian places, simply because I always feel like I can make nice pasta myself at home and believe if I’m eating out it’s for something I wouldn’t be able to make myself. My fiancé’s aunt who turned 49 has celiac disease and we needed to go somewhere with gluten free pasta options and Joanne Cronin ( Stitch and Bear) recommended Manifesto to me.

Loads of antipasti are on offer with prices from €8 to €12 with some original alternatives to the well-known bruschettas or Caprese salad which have become quite common.  Char-grilled scallops served with spinach and drizzled with a reduction of passion fruit sauce (€12) or cured-in-house breast of duck marinated in pink pepper and served with a bouquet of fresh salad and apple compote (€11) are just some of their appealing starters.

Garlic bread

The pasta dishes all sounded amazing with original fillings and sauces, not the boring carbonara you usually find in every single Italian place. They have half a Lobster cooked in cherry tomato sauce and served in its shell with homemade spaghetti chitarra-style for €21 or cavatelli pasta home made with chestnut flour cooked with porcini mushrooms, prawns and borlotti bean (€16).

Now, they seem very proud of their pizzas. They have won a Gold medal award for best pizza in the world, yes, in the world, in 2006 and it’s called the Mamy (tomato sauce, mozzarella Cheese, aubergines, Parma Ham, Parmesan Cheese and fresh buffalo mozzarella). It’s quite a funny name and made me think I’ve always felt that Italian and Irish mammies are kind of similar, especially with their baby boys. I couldn’t help laughing at the name of another one: The Trappattoni.  I don’t know much about football but at least I knew what it referenced to (coach of the Irish football team in case anyone doesn’t know).
The raviolini filled with pheasant served in a potato and truffle sauce (€16) caught my eyes and sounded delicious, so I ordered it.

I never eat truffle, the tasty mushroom that costs you an arm and a leg, but I thought why not?  When the dish was brought to me, the smell was unbelievable. There was some effort put in to the presentation, but the colour of the sauce didn’t make it the most appealing. However, I forgot this detail on my first bite of the soft pasta filled with exquisite meat and dipped in a creamy tasty sauce. It was the best pasta dish I’ve ever had, including my trips to Italy!

My raviolini

Mr FFID and P both had the Don Corleone (€15, awarded best pizza in Ireland in 2011) topped with mozzarella cheese, Italian pork and fennels sausage, friarielli (Italian broccoli rabe). The crust was thin like the pizzas you get in Italy:  Manifesto serves you the real stuff. There was no tomato sauce on the base and the taste of fennel gave a distinctive flavor to the pizza that was fantastic.

Don Corleone - Best pizza in Ireland 2011

L. got the surprisingly star-shaped pizza “La Stella Vegetariana” (€14). The toppings were mainly roasted veg (aubergines, courgettes, roast Peppers) with mozzarella cheese. I haven’t tasted it but it looked cheesy and substantial.
The birthday girl was delighted with a big portion of gluten free chicken and mushroom pasta, apologies for not remembering much but my pasta was so good I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than my pure gluttony!

I couldn’t indulge myself with dessert because sometimes you have to be reasonable and stop eating when full. Although I did taste the beautiful macchiato, made out of an espresso coffee with a dash of cream and Nutella. It was a strong espresso as only the Italians have mastered it. Delicious!
I warmly recommend Manifesto. There was a nice laid-back, cosy atmosphere that is often missing from the restaurants in Dublin city centre. The service was good and there was definitely a sense of Italian authenticity along with good value prices.
Give it a go, they’re Pizza world champions after all!

208 Rathmines Road Lower,
01 496 8096

This is an independent review, I paid for my meal.