Pulling Up a Stool at Fallon & Byrne

In the early days of moving to Dublin, a friend stared at me in disbelief when I answered no to the question, ‘Have you ever been to Fallon & Byrne?’ That day we went in for lunch, and passing through the rows of vibrant produce and freshly-baked artisan breads I wondered if I’d been transported to another city. This was the beginning of my belief that Dublin is really coming alive as a foodie destination.

After that first toasty sandwich and silky cappuccino, I was sold. Over the next couple of years, when the dust had settled on the ‘buzz’ of new restaurants, and I was struck with the inevitable question, ‘where should we go tonight?’ the easiest (and most consistently delicious) answer is Fallon & Byrne. Not only do they have a market where picking up the ingredients for a gourmet meal at home is a breeze, and a cafe for a healthy and delicious lunch, but they also have two spots that are perfect for evenings out: the restaurant and the wine cellar.

Maybe some of you will remember reading my review of the restaurant at Fallon & Byrne during ‘Dine in Dublin’ restaurant week a couple months back. I was particularly impressed with their varied options for the €30 prix fixe menu, and for a place with a wine cellar, there were many tempting bottles to choose from. The top floor restaurant, with its high ceilings, romantic lighting, and sharply dressed waiters is one of the best spots in town to sit down for an elegant meal. But what if you want to grab something casual?

My love for the wine cellar at Fallon & Byrne began one day for happy hour. Having just finished up a big project at work, I went out to celebrate with my coworkers. Descending the steps to the wine cellar, I was impressed by the bottles packed onto shelves like books all around the room. Large tables created a ‘dining at home’ feel, and between the large tables were oak barrels with a table top and stools, perfect for groups of friends. During this visit, it was simple to crack open a couple bottles of wine and nibble on cheese and piping hot bread in celebration. I’m pretty sure I walked out of that night spending far less than €20.

This week I was organizing a get together for friends and again was pressed with the decision of where to go. Having to consider different schedules, I decided on the Fallon & Byrne wine cellar where people could drop in and out, eat if they liked, drink if they liked, or just join in on the craic. Once again, I was blown away by the fresh flavors. A steaming bowl of seafood stew, tomato based, but livened up with lemon zest and fresh chopped parsley, was a delicious and filling option.

I also discovered that Monday nights at the wine cellar are particularly affordable, since only on this one night of the week, wine prices are dramatically reduced and sold for the ‘off the shelf’ price with just a 1 euro corkage fee. With a tasty Pomerol in my glass, I happily nibbled on charcuterie, cheese, and that famous piping hot Fallon & Byrne bread. Before we knew it, we were the last customers and happily tipping our glasses for the last sip, departed. I could have stayed all night.

I read something recently from a restauranteur who when asked what he wanted to create responded the type of restaurant people crave, and can’t stop thinking about until they come back. This recent visit to Fallon & Byrne has elevated its status in my mind: I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the cranberry coulis served with the cheese plate and I wish I had written down the name of the Pomerol. If you’re in Dublin, Fallon & Byrne will satisfy your craving whatever that craving may be: gourmet picnic supplies, a fine-dining experience, or just a glass of wine and some plates to share between friends.

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