40 restaurants in Henley-On-Thames
Restaurants in Henley-On-Thames:
New Street, Henley-On-Thames, RG9 2BP [Map]
We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but often un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style.
Complement that with all that is best in the French bistro ethos, bars that reach out to please, and you have a setting that provides an inspirational background for people to meet, do business, get married, provide a base for golf or fishing, somewhere you can call your own for a private celebration, a spa or - most engagingly - a wine school that breaks the mould.
Think quintessential British style - elegant and unpretentious. Combine this with a great spirit, wit and an unquestionable devotion to wine, and you have captured the essence of Hotel du Vin.
In Henley-on-Thames, du Vin has taken on the façade of the former Brakspears Brewery, a handsome brick-built structure in the best style of such buildings, strategically placed in the heart of the historic town centre, yet only 50 yards from the riverside moorings. Within and around a unique luxury boutique hotel has been constructed. For instance the former fermentation room and old malt house have jointly provided the location for one of the three private dining rooms.
Forty three exquisite bedrooms and magnificent suites have been created in the old buildings encircling the old brewery yard, and this also houses the hallmark du Vin bistro.
Head Chef, Neil Falzon presides over the kitchen of this 2AA Rosette bistro servicing a menu of 'simple classics' supplemented by his own selections, depending overall on a European cuisine with a contemporary edge. Starters of soused herrings with beetroot carpaccio and celeriac rémoulade, poached duck egg with chorizo, tomato and chick peas, or Uist Lodge smoked salmon with Spanish caper berries set a firm tone before choosing from either the simple classic or main courses, or both.
The Hotel du Vin fish pie says all that is good about this wonderful dish, good for lunch or dinner, capable of many different forms. Moving to the main courses, from a choice of seven, in season the roast Yorkshire grouse, with fondant potato, crisp ham and orange jus, or a smoked haddock brandade with poached hen's egg and hollandaise is recommended.
Whilst one might argue that the whole point of being in a du Vin is to snuggle up to the wine list, this list is designed to march with the food and can only be described as superb. With a team of three sommeliers, headed here by Stephane Sanchez, there is no room for anything but the best. Service is telepathic in the best possible sense.
Click on their Website for full information and rates. Hotel du Vin, with fourteen options throughout Britain, awaits your call.
Bistro, French, Modern European
High Street, Wargrave, nr Henley-on-Thames, RG10 8HY [Map]
With all the charm and attractiveness that comes with so many riverside pubs, this particular version has an added extra, called The Regatta. It seems that only if you display plenty of foresight, your chances of getting a worthwhile view - unless of course you are competing in which case you have a different set of problems - is to book very well in advance.
On days when it's storm force Force 9 blowing down the river, the place still has plenty to offer. A quick dash from the car to the door will admit you to a very different world, one of log fires and cocooned warmth. Talking of which, fire also features in the open kitchens and stone fired ovens, now very much a talking point.
To set the right note of fashionable sociability there are sharing plates, box baked Camembert with red onion jam and rustic bread and Greek mezze of taramasalata with red pepper hummus, tzatziki, feta and flatbreads.
Amongst the starters, there is freshly made soup, smoked mackerel pâté, seared pigeon breast, or a red onion tart. The salads - sorry, that should read 'leaves' - offer Persian chicken kebabs, fattoush salad, yoghurt and mint dressing, and for the seafood fiends some smoked trout, prawn, pancetta, horseradish dressing, watercress, spinach and baby potatoes.
These days no self-respecting gastropub can afford to be without its pizza range; expect to find a classic Margherita of tomato, mozzarella, oregano and basil, another with pepperoni, chorizo, tomato and jalapeños. Pastas include rigatoni, pork, veal and oregano meatballs with arrabiata sauce, and smoked haddock risotto.
The grills for hearty eaters are worth trying and choices include pork chops and salmon among others. These are all served with frites, garlic butter, brandy peppercorn sauce, béarnaise, burnt tomato and onion salsa or mango and chilli. For the big event there is always a fish of the day on request.
For the big event, there is always a fish of the day on request. The spit chicken with roast garlic, lemon, thyme, aioli and frites is worth trying too. The classic burger, which has risen from the confines of fast food chains, carves a niche for itself on the menu and comes with onion, gherkin, mustard mayo, cheese and bacon. For hearty eaters there is a five spice duck confit, or lamb rack with a spiced dukkah crust.
A wide range of supporting dishes includes Belgian frites and mayo, and cabbage, leeks and peas. Desserts are some of the best you'll encounter with apple and frangipane gallette and Cognac ice cream, and there is also a selection of local cheeses to set the buffs alight.
A well travelled wine list does the business well with a list that, whilst fairly modest covers most eventualities at prices that don't break the bank, and are described under such cost headings as 'vibrant and soft or luxurious and rich' - just like people.
For up to date information click on their well set out Website - and don't forget to book for the Regatta. Please note that the E-Mail Contact is for enquiries only, not for bookings.
English, Gastropub, Modern British
37 Hart Street, Henley, RG9 2AR [Map]
Café Rouge has over one hundred branches throughout Britain all offering a wide range of dishes drawn from the French cuisine. Slightly less than half their branches are in or close to London. Almost inevitably the décor and design of each restaurant differs from the others, but there is a general curtsy towards La France.
Many restaurants do an excellent breakfast, or shall we say petit dejeuner, at which such delights as scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toasted brioche, croque Madame, croissants and pain au chocolat make welcome appearances, and to their credit the English traditional gets top billing.
An array of small dishes takes in pulled pork pâté with French bread, and spicy beef and lamb sausage with harissa mayonnaise. Salads and pasta feature largely, as do baguettes and croques. Quick dishes, ideal for lunch, include slices of saucisson and cured pork loin with French bread.
Moving on to more serious stuff we find steaks, an 8oz bavette and thin cut rib eye, with a choice of béarnaise or peppercorn sauce. No French menu would be complete without the poulet jaune grille, pan-roasted breast of corn-fed chicken served on a warm taboulé of bulgar wheat and a medley of roasted vegetables with minted crème fraîche, or a steak frites before moving on to the crème brûlée, or the tart tatin. Almost invariably the coffee tastes like coffee should, something that sadly can all too often still not be said of our English restaurants, who depend too much upon technology and too little on the acquisition of a certain flair for this important conclusion to a meal.
By now we all know that the French, despite their distinctive habits when it comes to matters of satisfying the inner man, maintain a miraculous longevity of life. This is generally attributed to a number of causes, of which a measured consumption of decent wine is foremost. Café Rouge, you may be pleased to hear, encourages this with a well-chosen selection of French wines. Their prix fixe lunch and meals for children, both at a very reasonable figure, also offer excellent value.
Their Website will keep you updated on menu changes, news and other competitions and offers from the Café Society.
49 Bell Street, Henley-On-Thames, RG9 2BG [Map]
Strada describes itself as 'a group of stylish, contemporary Italian restaurants, serving good quality, simple and freshly prepared dishes'. The statement sums up what this group of around seventy restaurants offers to people looking for good Italian food. The first outlet opened in Battersea in 1999 and their clientele has been increasing steadily ever since.
Though Strada has grown into a fair sized group, each outlet retains the feel of being a local neighbourhood Italian restaurant. The menu includes pastas, risottos, salads, and fish dishes, but they are best known for their quality pizzas.
They present authentic Italian dishes in contemporary surroundings and aim to use only the freshest and finest ingredients, such as Luganica sausages, Parma ham and buffalo mozzarella, imported from Italy to provide exactly the kind of rustic, traditional dishes one would expect to find travelling around its regions.
A meal could kick off with zuppa vongole e fregola, a traditional clam soup with Sardinian fregola pasta grains, wine, chilli and parsley, served with bread, or the delicious sautéed king prawns with garlic, white wine, chilli, and lemon butter served with your choice of bread.
Move on to their creamy risotto verdure, freshly grilled asparagus, broad beans, peas, spring onions, zucchini, green beans, white wine and mint, finished with baby spinach leaves. Or you could opt for the healthier, tagliolini nero granchio, black cuttlefish ink pasta with crab, courgette, red and yellow peppers, spring onion, and a hint of chilli and parsley. A real treat for the taste buds comes in the form of the bistecca manzo, a 10oz rosemary-marinated char-grilled, rib-eye steak with fries and fresh rocket.
A range of pizzas, all spun by hand, is an integral feature of each restaurant. They include the rossa, with spicy southern Italian salami, roasted red peppers, chilli, caramelised onion, garlic, fresh oregano, tomato and mozzarella. Nor are vegetarians are overlooked, and can be found tucking into dishes such as fiorentina, made of spinach cooked with garlic, nutmeg and black pepper with mozzarella, parmesan, tomato and an egg.
For those wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth, there is torroncino affogato, an iced nougat semi freddo with a shot of espresso to pour over, or a classic Italian tiramisu and, as you might expect coffee to round off the meal.
A wine list consisting of purely regional Italian wines, beers and liqueurs, all carefully chosen to complement the menu comes as no surprise and in addition, every table receives a complimentary bottle of purified water.
For further details including their latest news, menus and deals, and to find a Strada nearest to you, their Website certainly warrants a visit.
Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AR [Map]
Located within the Red Lion Hotel, a historic former coaching inn on the banks of the River Thames, the restaurant is a cosy, intimate space that offers views of the picturesque surrounding area. Parts of the building date back to the 15th century and the hotel retains much of its medieval architecture and charm, with large bright picture windows and a number of carefully preserved antiques adorning the halls and walls.
The kitchen produces a menu that is firmly based around local British dishes, with some French influences, and is made from fresh ingredients sourced from local markets wherever possible. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, guests can choose from a variety of appetizers, main courses of vegetarian and meat dishes and tempting desserts. Meals can be accompanied by a range of locally brewed beers or a bottle from the carefully selected wine list.
At the end of their meal, guests can relax in the Snug Bar where they can enjoy a nightcap in front of an open fire.
Skirmett, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 6TG [Map]
Only 37 miles from the heart of London, The Frog is a pleasant survival from another age. Loaded down with oak beams and log fires, Frog makes few concessions to the fripperies of the times, but a subtle uplift in the food on offer is certainly one of them.
The fairly fundamental tack of dishes like sausage, bacon and fried baguettes has been embellished by lemon grass and chilli mussels, watercress pancake parcels amply filled with smoked haddock, potato rosti topped with poached egg, smoked salmon and black pudding or roast rack of herb crusted Oxfordshire lamb, rosti potato and mulberry jus, followed by banoffee pie.
The local ales are powerful and carry picturesque names like Sharp's Doom Bar, and at weekends when the place become really full it makes sense to book first.
57-59 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BA [Map]
Stonor Road, Middle Assendon, Henley-On-Thames, RG9 6AU [Map]
English, Fish & Chip
Gallowstree Road, Rotherfield Peppard, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 5HT [Map]
Tucked away off the beaten track, The Greyhound is well worth discovering. The kitchen team, under the guidance of top TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson, demonstrate excellent cooking skills, very British in style and clearly one of the main attractions of this picturesque pub by its small pool.
The Greyhound specialises in grilled meats and fish - serving only the best quality food cooked as simply as possible. Try their aged-Scottish beef, hung for 35 days for extra flavour, or their own succulent Middle White pigs and tender Ark chickens - bred for a 100 days for tenderness and flavour.
In total there are sixty covers in the restaurant, but it benefits also by being able to seat a further thirty customers on the patio and sixty more in the garden.
British, Gastropub, Steak
35 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AA [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
More restaurants in Henley-On-Thames:
Featured Group Restaurant
Strada describes itself as 'a group of stylish, contemporary Italian restaurants, serving good quality, simple and freshly prepared dishes'. The statement sums up what this group of around seventy restaurants offers to people looking for good Italian food.
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By Paula 16 June 2013
Lovely building, service ok, sometimes couldn't get any attention; set menu not worth the money; starter ok, but main of ...
By ladyelite 16 June 2013
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We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but often un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style. Complement that ...
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