Mayo clocked up its first-ever national win at the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Irish Restaurant Awards last week when Westport restaurant Sol Rio took the Kids Size Me award for Ireland at a prestigious event commonly known as “The Restaurant Oscars’.
Kids Size Me is a joint initiative from the Nutrition and Health Foundation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) that is designed to enhance the range and portion size of nutritious meals available children.
The award recognises restaurants that ensure children have access to healthier food options when dining out by making child-size portions of adult meals available as an alternative to ordering from the standard children’s menu. Sol Rio attended the Restaurant Awards as Connaught winners and went on to scoop the All-Ireland award on the night. Sol Rio is the first restaurant or hotel in Mayo to win a national prize from the Irish Restaurant Awards since the initiative was introduced.
The win, according to Sol Rio proprietors Sinead Lambert, a Westport native, and her chef husband Jose Barroso, originally from Portugal, is a reflection of the restaurant’s food ethos which is extended to all customers, young and old, and of Sol Rio’s commitment to locally sourced ingredients.
“We are thrilled to receive this national award and would like to thank our great team of chefs and front of house staff who work hard every day to deliver a great customer experience and our local producers who consistently supply us with quality ingredients. As a Westport woman I’m also very proud to be part of Mayo’s first national win at the Irish Restaurant Awards”, said Sinead Lambert Barroso, proprietor, Sol Rio.
In its citation, the RAI praised the pricing and choice of Sol Rio’s Kids Size Me children’s menu which comprises three courses for €10 – or from €4.50 for a main course – and includes a comprehensive range of healthy but tasty options.
It includes small soups and chowders, small chicken Caesar salads, melon boats and garlic bread for starters; char-grilled breast of chicken, small Irish steak; vegetarian risotto, Spaghetti Bolognese, McCormack’s homemade sausages and meat or vegetarian lasagne for mains. Desserts include ice creams; fruit salads; profiteroles and the Sol Rio banana split.
Established in 1997 by Sinead and Jose Barosso, Sol Rio Restaurant is situated upstairs in a two-storey building on Westport’s Bridge Street while the popular Sol Rio Café occupies the bottom floor.
The restaurant has a continental feel with Irish and Portuguese cuisine featuring on the menu, including the famous Portuguese pastries, Pastel De Natas, which are a big seller amongst the locals and have featured in the Irish Times. Sol Rio has won numerous awards over the years, including Best Customer Service in Connaught and Best Casual Dining in Connaught at the Irish Restaurant Awards.