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Friday, 03 April 2020
ON a drizzly cold Friday evening we made a beeline for Shaun Dickens’s newly relaunched riverside restaurant — now known as Bistro at the Boathouse, writes Karen Lamming.
We entered into a warm, beautifully redesigned interior with a modern luxurious bar area together with subtle lighting and a Christmas tree carefully decorated, sitting alongside cosy leather settees ready and waiting for your pre-dinner drinks and a warm welcome from Gemma and her team Vlad and Daniella.
Outside we could see two igloos — they were ready for guests and we wanted to know more.
A party of eight arrived and were shown to one of the igloos, Gemma and her team followed the party with trays of drinks.
Gemma explained that you can book both breakfast and lunch in the igloos — each one holding up to a party of eight. And in the evening you can reserve them for pre-dinner drinks.
We were shown to our table by Vlad, who introduced us to the new menu.
I homed in on the Boathouse Burger for my main — it had to be done — but there was a fabulous choice, with starters such as Porthilly Oysters with traditional garnish and chicken wings with a blue cheese dressing and celery. My dining companion Dave chose the salad of burrata with roasted broccoli, toasted almonds, fregola and olives — this is also one of the vegetarian options.
The burrata cheese was very creamy and was well balanced with the toasted almonds and fregola.
I chose the smoked salmon with horseradish, caper berries and watercress. Beautifully served fresh salmon together with the horseradish is a taste to savour.
When it came to the mains there was again a fabulous choice on offer, such as roasted Cornish sea bream with braised white beans, tomato, red pepper and sauce vierge.
Not to mention rump or ribeye steaks with gem lettuce, crispy onions and fries, New England clam chowder with crispy pork belly.
Dave chose the 12-hour braised and glazed beef with roast celeriac, watercress and served with chunky chips.
The beef was so succulent and melted in your mouth, while the chips were so delicious, Dave couldn’t manage all of them because he wanted to finish the generous portion of beef.
My Boathouse Burger came with fried onions, chimichurri, Witheridge cheese, roast tomato chutney and the most delicious French fries. The burger was scrumptious with all the trimmings and was nestled in a glazed brioche bun served with my own mini jar of tomato ketchup.
OMG, you have to try it — I am sure the Boathouse Burger is soon going to be a household name in Henley.
Some of the scrummy desserts on offer included a crème brulee with blackberry, dark chocolate with caramel banana, toffee and frozen white chocolate.
Then there was apple and quince crumble with vanilla ice cream and my favourite — a selection of British cheeses to include Bix and Witheridge from the Nettlebed creamery, Crozier from Cashel and Tipperary and Boxer from Surrey, served with crackers, chutney and grapes.
Later that evening Shaun came out from the kitchen in his chef’s attire to meet his clients. He was warmly greeted by all with handshakes and a few hugs and kisses.
Not surprising when you consider the whole atmosphere that they create and the pleasure Gemma, Shaun and their team bring to the table to ensure the best time is had by all.
Not to forget the amazing, tasty, tantalising food that is on offer.
Thank you again Shaun, Gemma and team — we had a fabulous evening.
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