Sunday 22 April 2018

Lunchbox: Bel Cibo

Unit 11 Block A, Smithfield Market Square, Dublin 7 Tel: 01 8749733 2 STARS

Sophie Gorman

We may eat with our eyes, but our ears are important too and nothing spoils a gentle, relaxing lunch more than hard, aggressive rock music blasting out, particularly when the music choice sits so completely at odds with my fellow Bel Cibo clientele – a pair of mature gentlemen and a solo lady reading a book. Maybe the music is to encourage us to eat fast.

The Cost: €9.50 for lunch deal of 8" pizza with tea/coffee.

The Look: The décor is all bright colours and angular furniture. It needs to be softened, particularly my chair, which was in desperate need of a cushion. There are high ceilings and walls of windows, and they do convey a sense of space and pleasant airiness.

The Goods: Antipasti include garlic bread, caprese salad, crostini misti and deep-fried garlic mushrooms. There is a range of pasta and pizzas and burgers and the official mains include linguine del pescatore and filetto di pollo al fungi or, my favourite grandiose name, profonda baccala fritto e patatine – yes, indeed, fish and chips. There are lots of deals to be had, but you will have to discover them yourself. When I spot a small paper sign on my table advertising deals after I have ordered, the waitress scolds me that I should have mentioned it sooner. Is that not her job?

The Bad: Hard chairs and strange service aside, there is a very near disaster with a salt cellar that is imitating a salt grinder; grrrrrr. And the acoustics are quite horrible, somehow creating the effect of being under water. A group of children playing in front of the restaurant sound like they're under the table.

The Result: My capricciosa pizza is certainly not overcooked, it could have actually done with three more minutes to melt the cheese fully, but it does have a nice enough taste and they have been generous with the pepperoni and artichoke topping. But the food is not the winter of my discontent, everything else is.

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