The new Dublin restaurant Forno 500 is for more than one reason a real hot-spot in Dublin. They have the missing link to the real passion for authentic Neapolitan pizza in Ireland.
The Owners have been running restaurants since the late 1990’s. They developed over the years a real talent and love of all things pizza, they went back to Naples to train at Pizzeria Gaetano Genovesi in Naples under famed 4th-generation pizzaioli Gaetano himself and continued learning the intricacies and local street secrets of Neapolitan pizza making. They expected to only bring home the local produce and dough making techniques to make the best pizza in Dublin. However they quickly learned that the local hand built ovens with exceptional heat retention, with their low arch domes are the hidden secrets that make a true Neapolitan pizzas a standout.
They are now proud to house one of the first Neapolitan wood-burning pizza ovens hand built in Dublin by real Neapolitan Artisans – built to fit onsite using ancient Neapolitan techniques. It was not just the stones and clay from Naples they imported back but incredibly the oven maker himself! The world famous Neapolitan artisan oven builder Mr Stefano Ferrara was difficult to convince to come to Ireland but after 9 months of persuasion he finally arrived March 2017.
The name Forno meaning oven in Italian and 500 refers to the degree temperature their new oven can reach to make the real Neapolitan pizza. Their wood oven was built brick by brick from the ground up. They acquired the premises right next door to the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in June 2016. (Former Les Feres Jaques) this was their vision right from the start to create the absolute best pizza in Dublin in a prime location on Dame Street. It has taken them almost 9 months to persuade Mr Ferrara to leave his factory in Naples and fix his oven here. While they waited they opened a pop up restaurant during the Christmas season called Season Trattoria while they built Forno 500 behind the scenes.
So why not just buy a regular pizza oven? “The flame is one of the most fundamental elements of making a great pizza because that’s what makes the crust rise. You need 500 Celsius to perfect 60 to 90 seconds cooking time. I have worked with prefabbed wood burning ovens for many years but our bespoke oven in my opinion hits higher temperatures and creates a lighter pizza base in a faster time”. Says chef Nino
It was delivered in nine separate pallets weighing over a tonne each. Brick by brick it was lovingly built in Dublin. Flights and hotel accommodation were booked for Mr Ferarra , his son and his team of world class artisans to arrive. The cost of the materials, flights and accommodation, the weight of the transport and breaking the shopfront means this oven is probably one of the most expensive wood ovens here, it’s fixed and will remain a permanent feature at Forno 500 restaurant long after they retire.
Why is it different?
Santa Maria bricks from Campania were used in the walls and dome, the cooking surface is Biscotto di Sorrento and all of this is packed together with mortar made from volcanic ash from nearby Mount Vesuvius. Their bespoke ovens interior dome roof dimensions are at 18″, perfect for pizzas, allowing it to radiate searing heat and push down great oak flavours from above, cooking the ingredients on top of the pizza in the same amount of time the retained heat in the floor cooks the pizza from below.
“We can say a pizza is all about the base but Neapolitans know better, it is also all about the heat. We went back to Naples to learn the local street secrets of Neapolitan Pizza dough. We discovered the best flour from an old local mill there. We sourced only SAN Marzano DOP local tomatoes and the wonderful creamy buffalo mozzarella from the local dairies of campania. There was one element missing until now. Naples best kept secret is Dublin’s newest treasure www.forno500.ie