Now in its ninth year, Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer Street remains food heaven for many readers. The business is constantly innovating and last year started baking its own bread, hiring three Frenchmen to knead and score dough into all manner of appetising eats. The sourdough baguette is one of the store's best sellers, and the new recruits also bake seasonal variations, including a seaweed one that uses local ingredients, according to pastry chef Shane Smith, who heads up the bakery. Smith previously worked at Knockranny House in Mayo and the G Hotel.
Many of those who nominated Fallon & Byrne talked about the passion its well-informed staff continue to show for their areas of food expertise. Cheese counter manager Astrid Dahlman, for example, recently travelled to the Savoie region of France to select the store's Comté order, choosing cheese from the caves to mature. As she personally selected the cheese that will be for sale in the store, you can expect to hear all about it when you stop and sample it.
“It’s a place where the staff are open, friendly and honest about what is ripe and tasting good and what is not,” says one reader, Joseph Feely.
“A former winner, it remains one of Ireland’s best shops for those who are serious about what they eat,” says judge Simon Pratt.
Siobhán Conmy sums it up by saying that Fallon & Byrne is more than a shop. "It's like taking a holiday from your busy schedule. You walk through a fine array of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs, a variety you would not get anywhere else, and shop for products you would expect to buy in Italy or Spain, all to background music that you want on your playlist, not cheesy supermarket tunes."
Fallon & Byrne, 11-17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, 01-4721010, fallonandbyrne.com