Found in Henley’s central market square and situated next door to the newly opened Harrods Cafe, Crocker’s is perfectly placed in the former sprawling home of Loch Fyne. The restaurant is split into four defined sections, two chef tables offering two very different menus. The front of the restaurant is light, bright and perfect for people watching. For those wanting a more intimate dining spot, the grill can be found further back with cosy, stylish wooden furnishings and mood lighting. Matte copper tables and chunky crockery make this upscale eatery feel traditionally British. The walls are adorned with local artwork and a relaxed but upscale atmosphere make this restaurant the perfect addition to the regatta town.
The Thames Chef’s Table is overseen by MasterChef finalist and former head chef at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones, Dean Westcar. Dean uses the best, seasonal British produce to create a tasting menu that celebrates fresh flavours. Examples of the kind of dishes Dean creates for his menu include duck liver with beetroot, orange and almond; lamb with leek, artichoke and nasturtium; and dark chocolate with pear, hazelnut and bay leaf. The Thames Chef’s tasting menu can be adapted for vegetarians and pescatarians, but not to any other dietary requirements or dislikes.
Iain Dixon, former head chef at Foxhill Manor, is at the helm of the second Chef’s Table. Iain’s Pan-Asian menu reflects his passion for Japanese and South East Asian cuisines, with dishes such as puffed rice with plum salt; sea bass with white soy and apple; and cotton cake with rhubarb and white chocolate making an appearance on his first tasting menu.
For those who prefer to choose their own dishes, the Grill headed up by The Great British Menu’s Tom Westerland provides a menu of meat and fish dishes, such as rabbit kiev, duck liver parfait, and a range of impressive steaks.
We started our experience at Crockers Henley with a glass of English sparkling wine - a perfect nod to just how much the restaurant’s grill is embracing a British-led menu. Mains of the renowned Crockers burger and the Cape Cauliflower steak were both beautifully presented, never has a burger looked so elegant, stacked with defined layers and a coating of the venue’s “secret sauce”. The cauliflower steak is charred on the grill and served with a caper and raisin dressing. House fries offered the perfect accompaniment to our mains, although the truffle mac and cheese and the triple cooked beef fat chips were also tempting.
Leave space for dessert though at the raspberry choux bun with its bold pink pastry and a filling of raspberry cream isn’t to be missed. For a lighter dessert, the panna cotta is a refreshing choice with fresh mint and passion fruit seeds sitting proudly on top.