Food-led hotel opens in Henley-on-Thames

Originally earmarked for an April launch, Crockers Henley has now opened its doors in one of the UK’s most sought after and quintessential British towns: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

Housed in a Grade II-listed building in Henley’s Market Place, Crockers has a strong focus on great food and immersive experiences in a relaxed and unpretentious environment. The converted townhouse holds seven boutique bedrooms, two intimate 16-seater Chef’s Tables, a larger robatayaki grill restaurant and a brand-new bar.

16 seats at which guests can enjoy a tasting menu sat amidst the action: with bespoke kitchen table style dining overlooking open plan kitchens. One pan-Asian (The Gardiner Table) and one a modern British affair (The Thames Table) headed up by chefs Iain Dixon and Dean Westcar respectively.

The Thames Table (modern British) - headed up by Michelin-starred ex-Lucknam Park chef, Dean Westcar, The Thames Table serves 16 diners a 9-course tasting menu championing the finest ingredients the UK has to offer. From snacks including Cheddar & truffle to Salmon, apple & dill or Lamb, broccoli, broad beans & nasturtium. Finishing with the likes of dark chocolate, raspberry, olive oil, hazelnut -all paired with fine wines chosen by Head of Wine Gemma Aldridge.

The Gardiner’s Table (pan-Asian), pictured - inspired by his travels to Japan, Head Chef Iain Dixon brings Henley 10 and 7-course tasting menus of Southeast Asian dishes, matched with wines, sake and shochu. Light, delicate, creative dishes such as Singapore crab, garlic chive & mantou; Beef, caviar & wasabi and sweets like Yuzu & gin finished with delicate Wagashi & tea.

Led by born and bred Welshman and Wales’ National Chef of the Year, Tom Westerland, The Grill serves up seasonal produce cooked on a custom-made robatayaki charcoal grill. Guests can dine all day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, either on Crockers’ Market Place terrace or in the property’s private courtyard, in the Grill’s cosy nook complete with open fireplace or at the new bar at the front of the property. Dishes include classics like The Crockers burger and Stokes Marsh Farm chateaubriand for two, to spins on favourites like Kentucky fried octopus.

Gemma Aldridge heads up the wines at Crockers, with a brilliant list from winemakers both up and coming as well as more established producers. The wine programme focuses on exciting wines that complement the wide variety of food on offer, as well as great organic and biodynamic wines by the glass.

English sparkling from the Ashford-based estate Gusbourne sits alongside Rheingau whites, Navarran reds and rosés from Verona. Gemma joins Crockers from Brighton where she held the position of General Manager at local wine institution Ten Green Bottles.

Head mixologist Ryan Osnowski, formely of Michelin-starred Hinds Head in Bray, bringing with him a drinks list with flair and class. Classic sips sit alongside the likes of Happy AF (Bacardi blanca, peach yoghurt, cardamom and lemongrass) and Mai, oh My! (Angostura 5, almond orgeat, curacao, coffee rum). A selection of Crockers-own bottled cocktails are also available to purchase and enjoy at home.

Seven boutique bedrooms make up The Quarters: elegant furnishings nod to the Georgian heritage, with roll-top baths, statement lighting pieces and a sense of understated luxury. One-night stay includes two glasses of English sparkling wine on arrival, dinner at one of the two Chefs Tables and three-course breakfast at the Chef’s Table the following morning.

Crockers Henley builds on the success of its sibling, Crockers Tring, which launched in Spring 2018. Both projects are the brainchild of former chef, CEO Luke Garnsworthy. Crockers was founded on the dream of changing the way the hospitality industry works. Set menus, limited numbers and pre- bookings mean time management is easier, offering staff a better work/life balance.

The chef’s table model also brings chefs out of the dark and often windowless kitchens, and into the front row. Interaction and experience is key to delivering the Crockers signature style of dining.