Henry Stone - Sha-Roe Bistro, Clonegal, Co Carlow
The capital’s leading restaurants tend to hog the spotlight at awards and, while the size of the population means more top rank restaurants to choose from, excellence is no respecter of location – and former winners of our highest restaurant accolades have included exceptional out-of-town establishments like The Tannery, Dungarvan; Casino House in West Cork; MacNean House & Bistro; and Campagne in Kilkenny City.
“Clonegal is a delightfully unspoilt village in a beautiful area, but even if it had no natural advantages people would descend on it from miles around to experience the cooking at Sha-Roe Bistro.
Henry Stone’s menus may be deceptively simple but this unsung hero’s special gift is to combine the highest quality local foods with creative accompaniments that are never too many, or inappropriate, or innovative for the sake of showing off; his exceptional skills ensure rather that accompaniments bring a dish together - everything on the plate feels, correctly, as if the components have been made to complement each other.
The cooking is classically based, and effortlessly faultless. Menus always feature beef (matured for seven weeks), which is hard to resist; tender young lamb from the lush hilly landscape nearby is equally carefully sourced and named; cheeses are local and named, as are their fruity accompaniments.
The relative shortness of the menu gives one confidence that everything is in peak condition, and it is really hard to decide what to have, simply because you would be delighted to eat anything (everything!) on the menu.
Everything is sourced locally and impeccably, so - whatever you choose it will be superbly cooked, subtly and perfectly accompanied and the meal will be memorable, thanks to the skills of this gifted chef and, of course, the charming service provided by his wife, Stephanie.”