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Tuesday, 14 August 2018
SUNDAY lunch at Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse is a wonderful experience and I think it offers very good value to customers, writes Alice Whitehouse.
It seems to me that this restaurant succeeds on three levels.
Firstly and most importantly, the food — it is simply divine.
Secondly the service, which is totally outstanding.
And finally the setting, which is the icing on this very glorious gateau.
For lunch on Sunday I started with leeks crisped and served with parmesan, horseradish and beef.
For my main course I chose the lamb with confit belly, anchovy, celeriac and sea vegetables.
The quality of the individual ingredients was evident, the dish was cooked to perfection and presentation was just beautiful.
My dining companion, Polly, chose differently, though her meal was and looked just as delicious.
When you look at the dessert menu don’t choose too soon, as when it is discussed you may well change your mind — several times! I had a “CBJ”. This perfectly formed sweet of chestnut butter and redcurrant jelly was created by a dessert magician. There was a smoothness, a warmth, a chill, exceptional tastes and textures, tempting your taste buds. Just magic.
The cheese course is a must, in my opinion. The cheeses hailed from Glastonbury, the Isle of Mull, May Hill in Gloucestershire and Nettlebed.
We were presented with a large basket from which to choose four or eight different cheeses. I loved the explanations of the different flavours and the places where they were made — we had to try some.
My personal favourite was “The Tor” (the one from Glastonbury). Shaped like “The Tor” or perhaps the Pyramid stage, it was rolled in ash, was creamy and just a little hippie!
The staff at Shaun Dickens were helpful and polite. We couldn’t have asked for more — their attentiveness added to this special dining experience.
Food at the restaurant is British and the team have a good knowledge of the locality and provenance of their ingredients, some of which come from the local area.
The restaurant is tranquil and comfortable. To dine overlooking the river is perfect but rare in Henley.
A patio affords the opportunity to dine al fresco in the better weather and I think this would be an excellent spot to sample a cocktail or investigate the wine on offer here.
I overheard one fellow diner say, “I thought it would be good, but I never thought it would be this good” and I think that just about sums up this superb restaurant. I can’t wait to go again.
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