In a frenetic and often frantic age of striving and self-promotion, Henry Stone and his partner, Stephanie Barrillier, run the most under-the-radar destination at the pretty, country-style Sha Roe Bistro, where County Carlow edges up against County Wexford.
Mr Stone has won awards and won acclaim, of course, and has featured in the McKennas' Guides ever since Claire Goodwillie discovered, back in 2006, that everything at Sha Roe “was great”. But the award he runs away with is the “Let the Cooking do the Talking” prize, for here is a chef who puts it on the plate, and lets you decide. Your decision, however, will be utterly predictable: here is a creative modern Irish chef running a superb restaurant with beautiful cooking, will be what you will decide.
For Caroline Hennessy, She Roe is the sort of destination for which a long-haul drive “was more than justified” in order to enjoy Mr Stone’s cooking. Sha Roe proves that what is vital in order to succeed is to cook good food that you appreciate and understand and to sign it with your own signature style. Mr Stone likes to riff on favourite ideas – Asian concoctions, lush Italian accented pastas; the warm richness of game cooking – but everything comes off as his own: hake with Chantenay carrots; ravioli with Gorgonzola; tiger prawns and crab with egg noodles; a rich, rich chocolate marquise.
All of the details are correct: excellent breads; excellent service; excellent value; excellent housekeeping. The final decision you will be making as you settle the bill will be: when can we come back to Sha-Roe Bistro?
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