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Just Ask Restaurant of the Month for July - Sha Roe Bistro

 The “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month winner for July is Sha-Roe Bistro, Clonegal, Co Carlow

Henry Stone - Sha-Roe Bistro

‘Quietly excellent’, that’s Henry and Stephanie Stone's small but beautifully appointed and atmospheric restaurant in the pretty riverside village of Clonegal on the borders of Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow.

It may seem to be on the road to nowhere but it’s been a destination for lovers of Henry's outstanding cooking for over a decade. And no wonder, as it charms and delights without pomp or ceremony, just natural warmth and hospitality, superbly unfussy cooking and a total commitment to using the best of local foods in their natural season.

The warm welcome and country charm belies an impressive professionalism - Henry Stone is one of Ireland's finest chefs, and he and Stephanie make a great team so guests can relax in the knowledge that everything will run seamlessly.

And the fine 18th century building has many quirky details to please the eye – a table beside a tiny old cottagey window in the back of the restaurant allows a peep into the kitchen, for example; a little gap in an old corridor wall seems tailor made as a shelf for a night light; and - a reminder of Stephanie’s native Switzerland, perhaps - a generous stack of wood is stored neatly alongside a traditional stove, ready for refills on chilly nights.

Deceptively simple menus based on seasonal foods might begin with pan fried Dunmore East scallops with wild garlic risotto, or Henry's famous chicken liver paté (a big hit at the local farmers' market) served with rhubarb chutney and toasted brioche.

Sha-Roe Bistro - Main Course

Of the main courses, Wexford beef - matured for seven weeks - is a delight (medallions of fillet steak with flat mushrooms and roast shallots, perhaps), while pan fried hake with peas and asparagus is another treat when in season.

Sourcing and seasonality are key to everything in this kitchen and, going far beyond simply crediting valued suppliers on the menu, Henry introduces them in the context of his philosophy of food. As he says himself on the Sha-Roe website: “Aren’t seasons there for the picking? Do they not sustain the wonderful variety of food available to us? In a world where everything is available all year round, we can forget the sheer delight of tasting what nature has to offer each season. When it comes to really interesting food and cooking, seasonality is everything.”

So it follows that Henry picks his suppliers carefully - and, keen to share what is special about each one with customers, he explains why they were chosen. Kavanagh Meats Ireland, of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, for example, is chosen because it’s a local and independent abattoir, which sources beef from the green fields of the local countryside - and “ “Sustainable, ethically sourced meat is what Sha-Roe believes in, and that’s what customers appreciate.”

Sha-Roe Bistro - Fish Dish

Although meat and game are big favourites in this area, Henry is also known for his great fish cooking and the same philosophy applies: Colin O’Shea, of Seatrade in Dunmore East, buys his fish directly from the fish auction and then rings Sha-Roe to discuss the catch, so he can deliver the best quality fish each day.

Similarly, as “You can’t compromise on freshness when it comes to fruit and vegetables”, Cullen’s Wholesale Fruit & Vegetables of Gorey, Co Wexford are the chosen suppliers because “They’re local, reliable, family-owned and there’s never a compromise on quality”- and this is very evident in the interesting vegetarian options and side dishes served here.

Then there’s the local Carlow Cheese, made at Fenagh, Co Carlow, by Elizabeth Bradley, who is “The most passionate and knowledgeable cheese maker Henry and Stephanie know… She is fighting the fight for small independent raw milk cheese producers, and Sha-Roe is privileged to be able to buy artisan cheeses from her farm.”

Each individual supplier is presented in this way, in context, which adds an extra dimension to the wonderful food experience at Sha-Roe Bistro.

And, before dinner on a summer evening or after Sunday lunch, a visit to historical Huntington Castle (just around the corner) is highly recommended - and this interesting place not only wonderful gardens but also offers B&B (www.huntingtoncastle.com). Definitely worth a detour.

Sha-Roe Bistro - Interior

SAMPLE MENU: DINNER

Starters
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Our own lightly smoked salmon fillet and crab bonbons served with avocado and toasted almonds – €7.50

Slow roasted pork belly served with barbecue sauce, apple and carrot slaw – €8.50

Bengali spiced vegetable cakes served with mild Madras curry sauce and coriander salad – €8.00

Chicken liver pâté with sour dough toast and rhubarb chutney – €9.50

“Bouillabaisse”, pan fried scallops and monkfish served with a prawn bisque sauce – €10.50

Cauliflower soup with mature cheddar cheese croutons – €5.90

 

Main Courses
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Kavanagh’s Irish fillet steak with flat cap mushroom and onion purée – €25.95

Pan fried monkfish served with peas, asparagus and a crab ravioli – €24.00

Wild garlic and carrot risotto with aged Parmesan – €17.90

Pan roasted Barbary duck breast served with fondant potatoes and Port sauce – €26.00

7 hour slow braised beef cheek with mash and crispy shallots – €23.00

Pan fried fillet of hake with West Cork chorizo, plum tomato and wild garlic – €23.00

All main courses are served with Vegetable and Potato

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Dessert Menu
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All desserts at €8.00

Vanilla and lemon curd cheesecake with gingerbread crumb

Dark chocolate fondant with frozen chocolate marquise and vanilla ice cream

Gratin of poached pear and figs with honeycomb ice cream

Peanut butter parfait with apple doughnuts and caramel sauce

Irish Cheese with apple chutney and homemade crackers

Gubbeen cheese, Schull, Co Cork, Wicklow Bblue, Arklow, Co Wicklow and Leinster Cloth cheddar, Tom Burgess, Coolattin

All these cheeses are available to buy at the Carlow Farmers’ Market

Above cheese with a glass of Quinta de la Rosa Vintage Port 2003 – €13.00
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Mas Amiel – €10.50/glass
California Orange Muscat – €8.00/glass
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Tea – €2.00
Herbal Tea (Mint, Green Tea and Camomile) – €2.45
Coffee – €2.45
Decaffeinated coffee – €2.45
Caffe latte – €2.85
Cappuccino – €2.85
Espresso – €2.00
Baileys coffee – €6.50
Irish coffee (Whiskey) – €6.50
French coffee (Brandy) – €6.50
Calypso coffee (Tia Maria) – €6.50
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Please notify us of any special dietary requirements
* Menu subject to seasonal variation

 

Side Order
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Mash – €3.00
Homemade Chips – €3.00
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Please notify us of any special dietary requirements
* Menu subject to seasonal variation

 

Sha-Roe Bistro - Exterior

Sunday Lunch Menu
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€ 33.20 per person

Warm marinated organic salmon and fishcakes served with herb mayonnaise

Homemade roast parsnip, pumpkin and shallot tortellini with goat’s cheese bonbons

Pan fried wild pheasant burger with braised red cabbage and game chips

“Bouillabaisse”, pan fried scallops and monkfish scampi served with prawn bisque and tomato sauce

Chicken and mushroom soup

Koftas (beef spicy meatballs) with coconut, Madras and curry sauce served with noodles

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7 hour slow braised beef cheek with butter roasted carrot and mash

Butternut squash, leek and butterbean stew with Gabriel cheese gougères

Pan fried loin of wild Wicklow venison with parsnip purée

Medaillons of Kavanagh’s Irish fillet steak with flat cap mushroom and onion purée

T-Bone of plaice with tiger prawns scampi and garlic butter

All main courses are served with Vegetable and Potato
________________________________________

Vanilla and lemon curd cheesecake with ginger biscuit crumb

Dark chocolate fondant with chocolate marquise and vanilla ice cream

Gratin of poached pear and figs with honeycomb ice cream

Peanut butter parfait with apple doughnuts and caramel sauce
________________________________________

Tea or Coffee
Vegeterian – Gluten Free
* Menu subject to seasonal variation

 

Our Suppliers

SEASONALITY
________________________________________

Aren’t seasons there for the picking? Do they not sustain the wonderful variety of food available to us? In a world where everything is available all year round, we can forget the sheer delight of tasting what nature has to offer each season.

When it comes to really interesting food and cooking, seasonality is everything – that’s Henry’s raison d’être. At Sha-Roe you will always experience the very best seasonal fare prepared with loving enthusiasm.

Over ten years on from first opening, Sha-Roe is still the talk of the county, a testament to adhering to all its good intentions.

Sha-Roe picks its suppliers carefully. The customer’s experience is always at the forefront of their choice!

Cullen’s, Wholesale Fruit & Vegetables

Aske, Gorey, Co Wexford
You can’t compromise on freshness when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Sha-Roe has worked with Cullen’s since the beginning. They were chosen for many reasons: they’re local, reliable, family-owned and there’s never a compromise on quality.

Kavanagh Meats Ireland

Gareth Kavanagh, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Sustainable, ethically sourced meat is what Sha-Roe believes in, as that’s what customers appreciate. They choose Kavanaghs because it’s a local and independent abattoir, which sources beef from the green fields of the local countryside.

Carlow Cheese - Elizabeth Bradley

Fenagh, Co Carlow
Elizabeth Bradley is the most passionate and knowledgeable cheese maker Henry and Stephanie know. She is fighting the fight for small independent raw milk cheese producers, and Sha-Roe is privileged to be able to buy artisan cheeses from her farm.

Gubbeen Ireland

West Cork
Chorizo is so ten-a-penny these days, and like any product, not all are made equal. Gubbeen produces the best chorizo Henry and Stephanie have ever tasted. Perfect for complementing many dishes.

Croghan Valley Game

Tom Nolan
Aughrim, Co Wicklow
A true knowledge of game and how important the butchering and hanging processes are, always results in the perfect dish. Sha-Roe always source deer and pheasants from Tom Nolan, who shoots and butchers his own game.

Pallas Foods

Speciality foods
Limerick
It’s not always easy to get certain items that may be the quintessential ingredient in many of Sha-Roe’s courses. Pallas Foods provide a wide selection of products that are not easily sourced in Ireland.

Seatrade

Colin O’Shea
Dunmore east, Co Waterford
Colin O’Shea buys his fish directly from Dunmore east fish auction. After that, he rings Sha-Roe and delivers excellent quality fish to us the next day. It means Sha-Roe can guarantee fresh, delicious fish to their customers.

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VIEW ALL JUST ASK RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH WINNERS



Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers.

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we always enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests.  

If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable.

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ' “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition', menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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