Newlands Lane Stoke Row Henley On Thames Oxfordshire RG9 5PU
01491 681 048
This trad-looking rural pub overlooking fields west of Henley has developed a superlative word-of-mouth following for its food. Run since 1990 by ex-punk-guitarist Paul Clerehugh, the cooking (and décor) is homespun rather then plush, but foodies and celebs love it for that: Kate Winslet had her first wedding reception here, and the Observer Food Monthly magazine voted it the UK's best Sunday lunch. Much of the daily changing menu comes from Clerehugh's smallholding and neighbouring farms, including beef, lamb, buffalo milk and honey ice-cream. And this is a place with real heart and soul: there are regular music nights, and you can even bring your own home-grown produce and receive a credit for it against your own lunch!
Just got back from a great lunch at the Crooked Billet. Tiny little pub tucked away down tiny little Oxfordshire lanes; all low ceilings, roaring fires and simple, elegant rustic styling. The food was very good; salt and pepper squid was served with the very lightest batter, a zingy asian salad with a refreshing sesame seed finish and a nice wodge of chilli jam, a perfect flavour combo. Main was smoked haddock with a poached egg, on mustard parmienter potatoes, served with green beans and a spinach jus - all perfectly lovely, but let down slightly by the fact that the flavours were collectively quite bland as a combination. It needed more than just the mustard to cut through and give it a lift. However, our other diners loved their scallop main and the roast pork too. The chewy chocolate macaroon dessert was heaven on a plate, and just when we thought it couldn't get any better, coffee arrived with complimentary home-made fudge which was so good, we had to box up and take home what we couldn't eat. But after all the great food, what I was most blown away by was the service (above and beyond) and the price (£15 for 2 courses, Saturday lunch). So perhaps the food is not quite Michelin standard, but for the whole package - food, ambience, service, price - the Crooked Billet deserves a five stars. Surely one of the best country pubs in Oxfordshire.
The Crooked Billet reviewed by Fusspot on December 2nd, 2013
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