Fallon & Byrne: New restaurant a superb addition to Dun Laoghaire
Fallon & Byrne has opened in the historic Victorian Pavilion building in Dun Laoghaire's People's Park, says Lucinda O'Sullivan, who finds it to be a superb addition to the town
The greatest psychological uplift for Dun Laoghaire in recent times is not the monstrous building - and equally monstrous waste of money - that is the new dlr LexIcon library on the seafront, but rather the opening of Fallon & Byrne's new restaurant, cafe and bakery, at the Pavilion in the People's Park.
Dun Laoghaire, formerly known as Kingstown, still carries the vestiges of Victorian splendour along its seafront, and this needs to be strengthened and enhanced in a time when people are once again appreciating the past. Built in 1890, the People's Park is one such great attribute, with its fountains and walkways, and is widely used, including hosting a very popular Sunday market. Its Pavilion building, with views sweeping over the gardens out to sea, is a real treasure, and it is fantastic that a restaurant such as Fallon & Byrne has breathed new life into it. It shows a confidence in the area. You can't but think of posh cricket or polo pavilions of yore, but this is a facility that has always been for the people of Dun Laoghaire.
The restaurant does food all day from light breakfast, through lunch, to an afternoon menu and dinner; I cannot wait for summer when I can envisage people sitting out on the terrace as families romp around the park. They have done a lovely job on the interior, and it seemed a lot of the local population were out in force to support the venture.
For dinner, seven starters (€5.95-€12.50) included a salad of white bean, artichoke, wild mushroom and rocket with a sherry vinaigrette dressing; while ballotine of quail was stuffed with wild mushrooms, lard and had a puy lentil salad. Carlingford oysters were €2.40 each, so you can pick however many you want.
Brendan's goat's cheese (€7.95) was as pretty as a picture. The soft, mild cheese was piped in little twirls, surrounded by myriad beetroot and chilli pear cubes, all topped with a big fluff of dressed leaves. I had beautifully seared pan-fried scallops (€12.50) presented 'chorus-line' style, interspersed with crispy, seared, boneless confit chicken wings. The line-up was dressed with julienned apple, flat-leaf parsley and what was described as a butternut squash puree.
Mains (€16.95-€28.95) included haunch of venison, with poached pear, celeriac puree and truffled greens; while an aged Irish rib-eye of beef came with French fries, watercress salad and a choice of sauces such as hollandaise, black pepper, or a red wine jus. Cod also featured, as did a burger with French fries and a mixed-leaf salad.
Brendan's truffle-roasted supreme of free-range Irish chicken (€23.95) was delicious; it was served in a classic brasserie style with a creamy fondant potato and a Bourguignon sauce. A good, chunky fillet of pan-seared halibut (€28.95) was a real treat. It is a wonderful fish, and you don't see it on every menu. It, too, was very French in style, sitting on a melange of braised baby gem, shards of crisped pancetta, pommes bouillon, peas and pearl onions. It somehow defined 'spring on a plate'.
While we passed on desserts, they were well priced at €6.75, including a Knickerbocker Glory of apple and blackberry crumble, with apple sauce, vanilla ice-cream and creme Chantilly. Baked vanilla-bean cheesecake was served with seasonal fruits; and a chocolate brownie sported vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Oh yes, and my favourite, creme brulee, had lemon biscotti.
There are classy cocktails worthy of the Empire days, all at €12, including a Bitter Rum Punch and a French 75 - we resisted - but I can see myself indulging my fantasies, memsahib style, on the terrace on a sunny summer day! With a bottle of delightfully aromatic Gascon Domaine de Menard Cuvee Marine 2013 (€28), mineral water (€4.75) and optional service, our bill came to €116.10. Welcome to Dun Laoghaire, Fallon & Byrne.
Fallon & Byrne,
The People's Park,
Tel: (01) 230-3300