Jose and Sinead are professionals to their fingertips, and they make it all seem easy in Sol Rio, their lovely restaurant and café. It's the calmness and assurance of M. Barroso's cooking that impresses so much, the way his experience shows when he allies some grapefruit and some pomegranate seeds to a smoked duck salad, or some ricotta tortellini with local woodcock, or pheasant served with belly of pork. His cooking is classical in that it isn't afraid to include culinary gestures that some would consider “old-fashioned” – hollandaise with john dory; sole with cream and cheese sauce; supreme of pork with apple stuffing and grain mustard sauce. But there is no fashion consciousness in this cooking: it is precise and delicious and gutsy, finessed with a rustic edge.
Mrs Lambert Barosso is a local girl, born in Westport, and she always dreamed of having her own restaurant in the town, a dream that came true back in 1997 when they first opened. It's a supremely customer-focused business, which explains why they opened the café on the ground floor, in order to offer food that was inexpensive and accessible. “Customer is king”, she once told us, and Sinead and Jose put that philosophy into practice every day that they open their doors, and they do it for each and every customer. Oh, and don't miss the Portguese custard tarts, deservedly the stuff of legend.
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