SquareMeal Review of Cheals of Henley
Chef Matt Cheal made his name at Michelin-starred Simpson’s in Birmingham, but recently teamed up with his dad to launch this classy neighbourhood gaff in affluent Warwickshire. Occupying a crooked house on Henley’s mile-long High Street, Cheal’s is an atmospheric mix of weathered beams and “quirky” interiors, with some elegant contemporary touches added to the mix. ‘Creative seasonal cuisine’ is the restaurant’s slogan, and it shows right across the repertoire, from complex starters of crispy duck egg yolk with ham hock, asparagus, pickled shallots and asparagus velouté or an Asian-themed plate of seared scallops with wasabi, apple, yuzu, lotus root and avruga caviar to rack and shoulder of lamb with Jersey royals, artichoke, wild garlic, broad beans and mint or Cornish brill, squid and mussels accompanied by pomme violette, samphire, rouille and squid ink. Deserts also aim high – think gariguette strawberries with cream cheese, Thai basil and strawberry ice cream. Staff are “attentive, yet unobtrusive”, and great-value lunches are “incredibly well done” too. One to watch, we think.