This chic, contemporary French restaurant could easily be missed given its location above their ground floor speciality grocery and food market (which simply begs you to browse). But once up the flight of stairs or lift, you'll find a bright and airy restaurant where diners are greeted promptly at the door.
Except for large flower arrangements displayed against the rear wall, this Dublin restaurants decoration is minimal - high ceilings, white walls, no paintings - but it has a definite buzz and that special French bistro ambience, so doesn't feel stark.
Two islands of comfortable leather seating dominate the central area, surrounded by simply laid darkwood tables and chairs; arriving diners are swiftly escorted to their tables, or there's a bar/reception area along one end where you can have a drink (if you can find a free stool) while waiting for your table - an agreeable interlude, as you watch the attentive staff at work.
At your table, breads, butter and water are presented, along with appealing menus offering a refreshingly simple and well balanced choice.
Authentic French cooking is what's on offer here: a deliciously sweet white onion soup with truffle crème fraiche, for example, or assiette of foie gras (done three ways) with cinnamon brioche to start, followed by main courses with an equally French tone such as a lean and succulent rabbit stuffed with a wild mushroom mousse and wrapped in pancetta, panfried sea trout with basil pappardelle, courgette, slow-roasted tomato & tomato coulis or a delicious vegetarian option of globe artichoke & roast tomato tart tatin.
Even the long and mysterious trek to the toilets on the top floor (not an unusual experience in this area) will not dent enthusiasm for this place, with its simple and well planned menu, great tasting food, professional staff and good value on all menus, considering the quality of food and service.
Fallon & Byrne, downstairs:
Surrounded by bottles on the walls, you are in the cellar - clever idea; popular with the post-work crowd, who love the atmosphere and affordable menu - light bites (cheeseboard, salads, patés, olives) are also offered, and you can choose from the bottles around you (corkage €10).
Restaurant, wine bar and a proper Food Hall - Fallon & Byrne has it all. As they say themselves: “Just-caught fish, well-hung meat, mighty coffee, sinful cakes, fine artisan foods of every kind, the freshest of fruit and vegetables.”
Before leaving, spend a little time looking around what has become Dublin's favourite food store - you are unlikely to leave empty-handed. Well worth a visit.