Credit Where its Due – Fallon & Byrne

Credit where its due.

Having recently detailed an awful service experience in several restaurants, it is only right to balance the books and detail an exceptionally good one.

Visiting Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer St in Dublin last Saturday night for the first time with 5 friends, there was a frisson of expectation given its reputation.

The night started very well, a cheerful lady was greeting guests and taking coats to be hung up properly on a coat rack. So far, so good. The dining room is beautiful, very high ceilings (more on that later), plush but not too posh interiors with deep red leather banquettes, glorious sash windows and bentwood chairs. Lighting is just the right side of mellow but not so low that you can’t read the menu.

Tables laid with pristine white linen cloths and napkins. Everything in its place.  We ate very good food which was also great value as we opted for the early bird – 3 courses for €39.00. What made this experience noteworthy though was the service. Being a vocal critic of bad service and fine tuned to pick up on it (not necessarily a good thing), it was obvious from the very first interaction with staff that this team has had professional training in the almost lost art of restaurant service skills.

The server waited until it was clear we were ready to order and only then interrupted the lively flow of conversation. We gave our orders, wine delivered and poured to those who had opted for it; no going around the table asking who was having it as the server had clearly been listening carefully when the order was given.  

Starters were delivered without interruption, joy of joys, the simple skill of knowing who is having what without interrupting a group of friends in deep conversation, was in action.

Water was replenished regularly without anyone noticing. Wine topped up but not so that we were being rushed into ordering more. Starters were cleared and mains served again without interruption. Someone was keeping a close eye on the table but not in any way interfering with our enjoyment of the evening. Staff were friendly at every turn and seemed genuinely pleased that we were there.

Dessert orders and coffee taken, seamlessly served to all.

This was a masterclass in restaurant service skills, someone should take a bow and the entire team are a credit to their mentors.

A caveat however, the room is excessively noisy. We were a mixed age group, and all agreed that this was a problem. We had to strain to hear and often strain to be heard. There is a fine line between a restaurant space being buzzy and vibrant and being too loud to have a normal conversation. These problems are easily fixed with sophisticated sound absorption systems readily available. We agreed that the experience was terrific but the noise levels would influence our making a return visit. An almost perfect outing.