August 1, 2011

Fallon & Byrne Restaurant - The Most Allergy-Friendly & Understanding Waitress

Last week my gluten free & dairy free mom was in town for the opening of the craft exhibition in the RDS (my dairy free sister, who is a jeweller had a wonderful necklace she had made, accepted), so dinner was a must! I was put in charge of booking a table somewhere. Knowing that my sister and I had long been curious to try the Fallon & Byrne Restaurant and I had heard that they were gluten free friendly, the destination was set.

I booked the table for an early meal but did not previously notify the restaurant of our dietary needs. Upon arrival, the maitre’d informed me that although they don’t have a dedicated gluten free menu, that most items are already or could easily be converted into gluten free. When the waitress arrived I let her know immediately that we were all dairy free and that my mom was also gluten free. The result was rather surprising. One of the very rare occurrences in my food allergy dining life unveiled: the waitress was COMPLETELY understanding! So understanding in fact that she went to the kitchen and made a list of all the items on the menu that could be made gluten free and dairy free before we ordered! How’s that for a wonderful experience?!
(note: I not only had my phone camera I forgot to take a picture of our starters because I was SO hungry!)

Surprisingly we had a sizable selection to choose from (dairy free was more difficult than gluten free) while still having room to avoid our other 'lesser' intolerances like tomatoes and potatoes etc. Obviously each dish was altered and without a sauce here or a potato there but most was substituted if something was left out. Our waitress even offered gluten free bread for the table but mom is not usually a fan so she declined the offer. Once we got our meals we suspected that perhaps the kitchen thought we were all gluten free and dairy free together. This was due to my sister’s Panzanella salad arriving with no bread. Odd, but perhaps it was a dairy free issue that was not understood by us...
(half eaten dairy free Panzanella Salad with no bread)

What we ordered:
Starter - Asparagus - with everything except the hollandaise sauce
Main - Salmon - with everything except the shellfish emulsion and crab

Starter - Panzanella Salad - with no bread, surprisingly, but lots of salty olives!
Main - Sea Bream which was Bass due to supply
(Bass with the smallest tomatoes in the world, really! & samphire)

The vegetarian option, although possibly even vegan (ask to be sure) was not suitable for my personal extended intolerances so I opted for the
Starter - Sweet & Sour Mackerel - without the apple fondant
Main - Chicken Breast - with no fondant potato but it did still surprisingly have the grape & vanilla puree with was very nice!
(Chicken Breast with a very nice grape and vanilla puree and a side of something that tasted very burnt in the ramekin)

Desert - we shared three scoops of rhubarb sorbet which was very nice! although we could have had the strawberry fool with the sorbet instead of the ice cream too OR a fruit salad! - I REALLY appreciate a restaurant that has allergy friendly deserts!

(dairy free Rhubarb sorbet!)

Overall we were a bit unimpressed with the meal taste-wise as we had heard so much about Fallon & Byrne. Understandably this can often happen when you are so limited with sauces etc, but the staff’s willingness to help us find something to suit our needs was really something special and worthy of praise.

Fallon & Byrne Restaurant
11 -17 Exchequer Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 472 1000
Opening Hours: Lunch, Mon-Sat 12:00 - last order 15:00; Dinner, Mon-Tues 18:00-last order 21:00; Wed-Thurs 18:00-last order 22:00; Fri-Sat 18:00-last order 23:00


Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse said...

Wow, what a brilliant restaurant! In four years of gluten-free eating, I've never found a chef or waitress that understanding and I'm so with you on being able to find suitable pudding - that never happens!
Thank you for the comment on my blog; glad to have found yours :-)

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

thank you to you too, Eleanor! ... I can't vouch for all of the staff but our waitress deserved a medal!