Since Fallon & Byrne first opened their Exchequer Street grocery store/deli/wine bar/restaurant a decade ago, it’s been my first port of call – and number one Dublin recommendation – for anything foodie related that’s just a little bit out of the ordinary (stripey tomatoes, agave nectar, hen’s teeth…you get the picture.)
It’s a gorgeous spot, but while I’ve often eaten in the deli or wine cellar, I had the impression that the first-floor restaurant was on the spendy side. I was delighted to be proved wrong when they invited me in to try out their new lunch menu: under the auspices of a new head chef, the menu ranges from €7.50 for light bites to €12.95 for a platter or €20/€25 for a two/three course set menu.
From this latter, I picked an incredibly tasty roasted pear salad to start. Beautifully presented, the pear was stuffed with creamy cashel blue cheese and crunchy pistachio (I waived the bacon because of this fella here.) My dining companion, The Brunette, had the soup – I can’t recall from which vegetables it was made, but like everything on the menu, it was seasonal, and pronounced spectacularly tasty. There were chestnuts! I just remembered that part; she especially liked the chestnuts.
On to the mains, and I was immediately drawn to one of the pasta dishes, spaghetti genovese: with pesto, garlic, new potatoes, artichoke and pine nuts, this was an incredibly flavoursome dish and rivalled any I’ve eaten in Italy. The potatoes really lend it that added authenticity (I totally stole that line from our handsome French waiter.)
Oh, and before I go on, a special word of tribute for the people. Not only was our waiter handsome and French (those two points bear repeating), but he was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, as was everyone who served us. The maître d’, Stephen, deserves special mention for his kindness. I called that morning about Missy, my new (to me) chihuahua, who’d been having a bit of separation anxiety (she’s much better now), and he honestly could not have been nicer. She was allowed to come along in her little carrier, and was made quite the fuss of by the staff.
By the end of our meal we were feeling lovely and relaxed in the light-filled, art deco inspired room - so while we waived dessert, we ordered up a round of Irish Coffee Martinis (Missy was on the dry), to send us on our way. These were delicious, with a warm whiskey kick, and perfectly rounded off a very pleasant afternoon.
Find Fallon & Byrne at 11 -17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, or check out their website for more.