Stone and Barrow

Licensed $-$$$   Hat icon   Glass icon
27 Bridge Street, Richmond
03) 6260 2739
Open: Wednesday to Saturday 10.00am – 4.00pm, Sunday 9.00am – 4.00pm, Dinner Friday and Saturday from 5.30pm. Takeaways.

Despite its central garden location, the Richmond area’s growing population, the village’s busy tourist trade, businesses on the Stone and Barrow site have, for various reasons, never really worked. Or, a least, nowhere near to the location’s full potential.

For too long, it was, as it were, an opportunity going begging. And, although it’s still early days – Stone and Barrow only opened six weeks ago – with hospitality stalwart Kat Little at the helm, the very talented Kirstin Berriman in the kitchen and the experienced Maryanne Revell and Tim Daly meeting, greeting and serving out front, one feels the Stone and Barrow team is just what the venue, and indeed, Richmond itself has needed.

The interior of the main restaurant building has been done over in a soft, mod-minimalist style with wooden tables and a couple of polished timber slab-tables and high stools fronting the windows onto a lawn with mature birches, oaks and a weeping Japanese cherry decorating the garden and outside dining settings at this time of year with a leafy golden carpet.

Little and Berriman say that although they’re still feeling their way with their menu, the response and feedback they’ve had, particularly to their dinners and Sunday lunches, have been very positive with many sessions solidly booked.

At a mid-week lunch we started with two styles of excellent house-made breads with dukkha, followed by a top seafood chowder chock full of smoked salmon and white fish with beautifully just-plumped oysters and mussels, and a superbly refreshing carrot, ginger and coconut soup.

Then followed Rancher’s eggs – a.k.a. huevos rancheros – a dish with which Berriman had wowed customers during her time in the early days of the now defunct Aproneers and about which I wrote at the time “of the many, newly fashionable, Mexican-influenced dishes around town, this, for me, is the best. With her own mild but very authentic-tasting tomato salsa topping a thin, flat tortilla, in turn topped with two soft-poached eggs and cheese accompanied by little bowls of chilli-dusted sour cream, sliced and peeled (now smashed) avocado, slivers of chilli and wedges of lime, it makes for a wonderfully flavoursome start or savoury pick-up to anyone’s day”. It still does and remains one of the best in town.

We next shared a thick, beautifully juicy piece of gummy shark and dressed salad in the fish ‘n chips option before finishing with an original, artfully presented and wonderfully cleansing ‘citrus mess’ dessert made up of assorted citrus jellies and tiny meringues.

As good as the other dishes were, it was the Ranchers’ eggs and the carrot soup that best displayed Berriman’s talent with flavours and their balanced compatibility. While seemingly simple, it’s a crucial art and, thinking about it later, there are only a handful of other chefs in town who do it as well.

Just as important, behind the food there’s an admirable ethos of honesty about the place, what they’re doing, the way they’re doing it and the plans they have for the future.

While many other places hype their use of local, seasonal and house-made everything – often when it’s not and the dessert strawberries are imported frozen from China for example – Stone and Barrow’s menu introduction simply, and much more modestly and honestly, says they make what they possibly can and the rest they source from small local producers.

In similar vein, the wine list is a roll call of their valley’s smaller producers many of which are rarely seen elsewhere.

While they may not make a glossy splash in trendy food mags, these are the sorts of things that give one confidence that Stone and Barrow will not only succeed but, with plans for a providore and possible accommodation, they’ll be around doing good things for a long while yet.

Carrot soup $15, chicken liver parfait $16, dips for two $18, beef Bourguignon pot pie, $21, fish, chips and greens $22, antipasto for two $29, desserts $12, Devonshire tea $10

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