Melanie May attended a Pizza Masterclass in Sophie’s in Dublin , here is how she got on….
Have you been to Sophie’s – the sensational rooftop restaurant in the Dean Hotel? And by sensational, I mean as in a feast for the senses. I was giddy with excitement as I rode the lift up to the top floor of the uber cool boutique hotel on Harcourt Street. When the lift opened, four huge wooden swings greeted me! Yes, swings, for adults. I could already tell that this was a fun place and was going to be a great night.
As you walk into Sophie’s you immediately see the kitchen, which is on show behind a massive pane of glass. I like this. It’s very ‘New York’. The rest of the space is equally transparent with floor to ceiling windows for stupendous views across all directions of the city. A circular bar takes up the centre of the room with cosy booths along one side and traditional tables along the other – the perfect place for cocktails with the girls or a special date with a special someone. However, I was here for neither of those. I was here to learn how to make pizza.
Sophie’s serves up pizza on their dinner menu as indicated by the wood burning pizza over by the kitchen entrance, which dominates the pizza bar, where the pizza masters get to work every night, handcrafting pizzas in less than three minutes apiece!
The two young pizza masters showed us how to stretch and turn the dough on the counter to get a nice round shape – the key is to use lots of flour and the heel of your hand. They showed us how to spin the pizza in the air, I still have no idea how to do this and then they advised us on toppings and flavour combinations – try to balance salty meats with sweet cheeses and use fresh herbs like rocket and basil as toppings once the pizza has come out of the oven.
Finally, it was our turn and in teams of three we each made a pizza base and the head chef chose the best base one to use for our pizza. As a team, we had to create the pizza topping and then the pizza went into the furnace for 90 seconds. Once cooked, the other teams tucked in and scored the pizzas on taste, appearance, base and some other criteria that I failed to give marks for as I was too busy eating.
There were some interesting pizzas created to say the least, the black pudding one was creative and surprisingly tasty but I think my pizza Blanco of caramelised onions, artichokes, potato slices, chilli flakes, mozzarella and Tallegio cheese was the best. However, the others didn’t think so and, alas, my pizza didn’t win! However, I did have a fun time and at the end of the masterclass, the pizza masters made a few pizzas straight off the menu to show us how they are served in the restaurant. The bases were thin, crispy and light and the marinara sauce bursting with fresh tomato and herb flavours and the toppings were all wonderfully creative, balanced and just the right amount.
The pizza was washed down with super vibrant and pungent cocktails and mocktails for me, and we all stayed much later than planned just chilling and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere and watching the sun go down over the city.
If you are looking for somewhere beautiful in the city to go and sip great drinks and eat good pizza then I have no hesitation recommending Sophie’s. Just make sure you get your photo taken on the swings before you start on the cocktails.