Thursday 29 November 2012

Dublin cafe: Fallon and Byrne

After a busy morning wondering around Dublin museums and shops, we found ourselves at Fallon and Byrne.  My sister Chris tells me that this is Dublin's equivalent to Dean and Deluca in New York.  It is indeed an impressive culinary emporium.  I was itching to explore but first we ate lunch in the basement.

Fallon and Byrne has three eating spaces.  Upstairs is the restaurant for those who want a proper sit-down meal.  (According to the website, it offers some good vegetarian options.)  The Food Hall on the ground floor is like a deli counter with lots of choice (and a few tables and chairs to eat at).  The wine bar in the basement has a more limited menu but is a lovely space to sit surrounded by posters and wine bottles.

We split our order between the food hall and the wine bar.  Fergal, E and I bought our lunches at the Food Hall counter and took them downstairs.  I had more options there - a vegetarian burger, goats cheese tarts, soup, or gourmet sandwiches.  E had a chilli con carne, Fergal had bangers and mash.

I chose the burger that included lots of nice ingredients like lentils, chickpeas and sweet potato.  It came with tomato relish and two salads.  There was a fine array to choose from and I decided on the broccoli and tofu and a chickpea and tomato salad.  I loved the soft burger with crispy coating.  I wasn't so keen on the large chunks of raw cold broccoli and very soft tofu.  The chickpea salad, though, was delicious, albeit a little plain.  Overall a good choice.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the wine bar, Sylvia and Dash both had ordered a bowl of chips with pesto aioli. The chips were some of the goldenest, crispiest, nicest chips I have had.  (So golden that initially I thought they were sweet potato chips!)  Chris and Fergal swooned over the green aioli because the basil flavour was so lovely.  I am less of an aioli fan but even I loved it.

After lunch was over, Sylvia went off with Chris, Fergal and Dash for a sleepover.  E and I wondered the store without a small child pulling us this way and that.  My eye was initially drawn to the colourful cherry tomatoes.  It signalled that this would be an interesting shop.  Fergal told me that 70% of the goods were reasonably priced but about 30% were exorbitantly priced.

I hope this montage of photos of the fruit and veg does it justice.  I just wanted to fill a shopping basket with the colourful and interesting produce.  In particular, I desperately wanted to buy some smoked garlic.  Unfortunately it would probably make my bags stink and the Australian customs officers wouldn't be nice to me about it.  I was also fascinated to see salsify that I have never tasted.

I was happier to be able to just admire the mushroom display without feeling the need to buy any.  I am not so keen on mushrooms but am fascinated by all the varieties.  There were so many here it was hard to keep count. 

We wondered around the rest of the shelves, admiring the range and quality of the goods.  I bought some delicious (non-alcoholic) Belvoir mulled winter punch here.  I would also have loved to buy some bread and goldfish biscuits and cheeses.  In fact, I wanted to buy some much that I have forgotten most of it.

Perhaps the most fascinating section was the chocolate.  It was where we spent the most time and the most money.  After all it is easiest to carry when travelling and you always need some chocolate.  The range of chocolate on offer was amazing.  We are currently eating through a block of Aine Zesty Lime and I am looking forward to tasting the bar of Cocoa Bean Milk Chocolate with Irish Honey.

Fallon and Byrne
11 -17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: (01) 472 1010


  1. I'm itching too, now, although I know it isn't really fair of me to do so - I was doing this sort of enjoyable food browsing myself not so long ago, so I can hardly pine for it again (or at least I can, but I really should remind myself not to).

    It sounds like you're having such fun Johanna, and everything in this post looks/sounds delightful. Having time without Sylvia must be lovely for a change too. I also wholeheartedly support carrying chocolate on travels, and actually wish I'd bought more (now most of it is gone!) when we were away. Don't leave with that regret ;)

  2. Thanks Kari - I don't blame you for pining for foreign food shopping so soon after your trip - you can remember clearly how good it is :-) Thanks for the reminder to buy more chocolate - did my best to heed this today at Edinburgh Farmer's Market


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