Ever since reviewing the late and uncomplaining Marquette a few years ago, I’ve been doing my best not to go hungry at Dublin Airport and expose myself to the dining options. But The Fallow sounded like it could be otherwise. The menu – a simple, no-nonsense offering featuring the names of excellent Irish producers including butcher Hugh Maguire, potato grower Ballymakenny and mushroom maestros Garry Hinch – sounded good. Perhaps the chance to present the best of Irish cuisine to the departing visitors had finally been seized?
n Thursday afternoon the woman at the entrance hands me a menu and says I can sit at any free table. She explains that I have to scan the QR code to order. It doesn’t offer the option to order in person, which I later learn is an alternative. There are plenty of vacant tables but most are covered in the trash from previous customers and stay that way longer than they should. I go almost to the end of the room near the kitchen before finding an empty seat.
I’m a long-time fan of Maguire (his smoked black pudding is a brilliant product) and one of the “signature” dishes is The Stag Burger, described as “Hugh Maguire Irish Beef and Guinness Burger, Streaky Bacon, Milleens Smoked”. Cheese and braised sticky onions in a potato brioche bun, served with rosemary sea salt skin fries and rainbow salad,” I order.
I think for €19.95 it will be great. I order a glass of red wine with it. And add a 15 piece service.
And I wait. And wait. Fifteen minutes later a young man arrives with a tray of two pints and two glasses of white wine and proceeds to unload them at my table. I tell him it’s not what I ordered and he takes it away.
“If you drink all of them, you’ll miss your flight,” says the woman at the next table.
The burger is dry rather than juicy and the drab fries are cold. The “coleslaw” is a penitential heap of stripped, chopped, raw vegetables
Another period of time passes. I ambush some of the staff but no one seems to be able to tell me when my food is coming. Eventually, about 40 minutes after I ordered, someone shows up with my burger. It looks sad rather than the magnificent creation described. Flavor is okay, but the burger is dry rather than juicy and the drab fries are cold. The “coleslaw” is a penitential heap of stripped, chopped, raw vegetables. Turns out the fries aren’t made with Ballymakenny potatoes, as varieties vary seasonally. (Apparently Ballymakenny potatoes are used in a smoked haddock dish that isn’t on the menu on the day of my visit, which raises the name check question.)
When I’ve finished eating the burger – I don’t care about the rest – it’s time to go to the gate. My glass of wine still hasn’t appeared. It takes another 10 or 15 minutes for the right person to come up with the card machine and process a refund.
A few days later I contacted the DAA and they put me in touch with SSP, the operator of The Fallow. (The Group CEO of SSP is Patrick Coveney, formerly of Greencore.) According to Managing Director Simon Davidson, SSP is “a leading operator of travel destination food and beverage concessions, operating restaurants, bars, cafes, food courts, lounges, and convenience stores at airports, train stations, motorway services and other leisure venues… the largest travel destination food and drink supplier in the UK and Ireland. All of SSP’s Irish operations are based at Dublin Airport where SSP operates several units…”
Davidson explains that the menu at The Fallow was developed by the SSP kitchen team, led by SSP’s Head of Product Development.
“Using local ingredients and working with Irish producers and suppliers has been at the heart of the menu development. We work with partners such as La Rousse Foods and Hugh Maguire…who are able to source from local farms and producers across Ireland… [so] We can trace every ingredient from farm to fork.”
I ask Davidson about the problems I’ve had with the ordering system. This was his response: “Our teams are continually working to improve the infrastructure that supports the processing and payment systems at The Fallow. Some issues with the system kept recurring for a week but are now fully resolved.”
So there you have it. If any of you dear readers rate your chances, please let me know how you are doing? In the meantime, I’ll follow the lead of the family I’ve seen wrapping delicious homemade sandwiches in aluminum foil.
A “grain and veg” salad will cost you €12.95.
Venison burger and chocolate ganache pudding for two is €53.80 before drinks or service.
the fallow, Terminal 2, Dublin Airport, Swords, Co Dublin
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/food-reviews/review-of-the-fallow-at-dublin-airport-about-40-minutes-after-ive-ordered-someone-shows-up-with-my-burger-it-looks-sad-rather-than-the-magnificent-creation-described-42023951.html Review of The Fallow restaurant at Terminal 2 Dublin Airport: “About 40 minutes after I ordered someone showed up with my burger. It looks rather sad than the great creation described.