As I was walking across Temple Bar with my camera, I happened to take a turn towards Dame Street from Essex Street. The alley I had chosen was in a remarkable contrast with the slick Temple Bar design shops, pubs and cafés around. I saw graffiti, piles of un-collected bin bags, and rumbling down, partly blackened walls. Against one doorframe, a chef was inhaling long puffs from his cigarette. I felt like being transferred into one of those dodgy alleyways in American police dramas and decided to memorise the street name for later research: Crane Lane, Crane, as in Frasier Crane.
But little did I know that at the same moment across Dublin, my lovely spouse was in the process of choosing Crane Lane’s restaurant as the location for a surprise Friday night outing.
The restaurant is Skinflint, where the main attraction is pizza, although the word pizzeria doesn’t describe Skinflint. The tables are old and white wooden doors covered with glass and the bar stools around them are high. On the walls, you see a collection of mis-matching pictures, and the lamps don’t have shades.
The menu has two sections: ‘pizza’ and ‘all the rest that is not pizza.’ As a starter, you can get little things to munch, but it is clear that it is pizza that sells in Skinflint. From the starters, even the tapenade and hummus are served with pizza base, and one portion would surely be enough for two before moving on to the mains.
The pizzas are ready sliced and are served on wooden and narrow boards. The massive rolls of paper on each table indicate that you are supposed to use your fingers to eat the juicy pieces of pizza. You also find some honey on each table and I strongly suggest you to give it a go: the Firebee honey is one of Skinflint’s specialities. My favourite pizza with roasted garlic confit and spinach is very garlicky – exactly as it should be – and the honey softens the taste perfectly. The pizza crust is very thin and, as it should be, crusty.
You will search Coke, Sprite or any other soft drinks in vain from the menu. Instead, Skinflint offers a big glass of perfectly sour lemonade. The house wine is also a good option, for 9 euros you get 2 glasses, or for 11 euros a small carafe. The red wine is full-bodied and spicy and goes nicely with the pizzas. There are also beers on offer, and for a thirstier lot I suggest a can of Heineken to wash down the pizza. But if you are fussy with your beers, visit Dublin’s first pub brewery Porterhouse just around the corner for a dessert beverage.
The atmosphere in Skinflint is casual, and although the music choice seems to be from a soundtrack for a gangsta rapper biopic, the clientele includes families, couples and groups of friends from varying ages – although, this is not a place where I’d take my grandmother.
Skinflint is really worth its name: a dinner with one starter and two pizzas, carafe of wine and a lemonade cost 35€ in total. Highly recommended for all you skinflints out there!