Jan 30, 2024

Review: MANI, 42 Drury St.

Ella Parry presents MANI, a new spot where you can overspend on lunch and waste study time.

Ella ParryFood and Drink Editor
Ella Parry for the University Times

The one constant in a student’s life is the ongoing quest for a new form of distraction from their work. As the dutiful Food and Drink editor that I am, but even just as a student, it is my job and my privilege to probe any new food spot in proximity to campus. My friend Phoebe and I have been anxiously anticipating the opening of MANI, watching the renovation progress from Kaph just across the street. Disappointingly, Phoebe fled the country before she could witness the newest addition to Dublin’s culinary landscape. With her on exchange in New York, I had to put on my big girl pants (New York slang) and brace myself for this solitary challenge.

MANI mainly sells focaccia-style pizza slices. However, you can also buy panini, cannoli and — Italians, brace yourselves — deep-fried lasagne. Slices are a decent size and range from 6.5€ for the Margherita to 8.5€ for the Carbonara.

As a sign of my commitment to cutting-edge food journalism, I went twice. Following a recommendation from the lovely staff, I tried the deep-fried lasagne (6.5€) with the Cacio e Pepe dip (2€) and the Carbonara slice the first time I went. Once you order, you are given a fun little buzzer that goes off when your food is ready. You can sit on several benches outside MANI while you are waiting and eating. My friend and I (I lied, I didn’t go alone; being alone is scary) both loved the lasagne together with the dip, agreeing that we would accept the scorn of Italians everywhere for this take. We felt differently about the Carbonara slice. It had a very strong taste of cheese mixed with a lot of bacon and no tomato base. In my opinion, it lacked the balance of tastes I crave in food. However, if you enjoy heavy and hyper-savoury pizza, this would be the slice for you. I much preferred the Salsiccia slice (7.5€) I had the next time I went. It was a fennel sausage variation with mozzarella, parmesan and a drizzle of pesto — just heavenly. The second time around, we also split a Mortadella Panini (11.50€) which we both raved about. The Paninis are a decent size so you could easily share one for lunch if you are not that hungry.


But enough about the food, I want to talk about the optics. One thing about me is that I judge books by their covers. MANI is beautiful. I spent a good two minutes yapping to my friend about how aesthetic the font of their signs is. Because I have the sense of humour of a three-year-old, I also giggled at their slogan “slice slice baby”. Honestly, even if you like neither pizza nor focaccia, I would go for the green and pink facade. In Germany, we have the phrase “das Auge isst mit”. It roughly translates to “the eye eats too” which honestly just does not sound as good, but you get the gist.

Overall, MANI is a good spot for a quick lunch and a welcome addition. It is a spot my Uncle Tom would describe as “very hip and cool and down with the kids”. Make of that what you will. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time and money there, justifying it with the following fallacy: If there is no table service, you are not eating out; you are just grabbing a bite. Of course, all of us know that the latter is cheaper.

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