A wonderfully British conceit, the restaurant with rooms has quickly become one of the most enviable countryside experiences. And Crockers in genteel Henley-on-Thames stands as a perfect example. An hour from London, the riverside town promises rows of independent shops, fresh fare and now a new destination for the perfect night or two away.
Spilling out into the street, the entrance to the Bar & Grill is full of locals and weekend visitors sipping lattes and glasses of crisp white wine. Housed in a Grade II-listed on a swirl of Henley’s pedestrianised Market Place mews stands this townhouse converted into a seven-bedroom boutique property. The area invites adventure, with river-boat cruises, picnic destinations and unusual walks all within close reach.
Imaginatively converted, the experience begins the moment you walk through the motion-sensitive glass doors. But what’s exceptional about the experience are the two chefs tables, each offering a unique fine-dining experience.
Here, you’ll find two intimate 16-seater chef’s tables—The Gardiner Table, which serves up pan-Asian cuisine and The Thames Table, headed up by Michelin-starred, ex-Lucknam Park chef Dean Westcar. The decor—red velvet in the Gardiner and blue in the Thames—is eye-catching and contemporary. The raised-floor seating has been designed with experience in mind, offering the ideal vantage to watch the perfectly choreographed moves of either chef at work.
Having previously cooked under a handful of the country’s finest chefs, including Marcus Wareing and Heston Blumenthal, Luke Garnsworthy takes great pride in his nine-course Asian-influenced menu. And championing the finest British ingredients with his tasting menu, charismatic Westcar suits the theatre of the chosen design.
At the bar, head mixologist Ryan Osnowski, formerly of the Michelin-starred Hinds Head in Bray, approaches his position with creativity and flair, using ingredients like peach yogurt, cardamom and lemongrass with ease.
Kitted out their own pre-mixed cocktails, the bright and airy rooms are well-thought-out. With high ceilings, exposed beams and toast-coloured four-poster beds, the rooms feel larger and grander than might be expected. A nod to the building’s Georgian heritage the free-standing tub sitting front-and-centre helps to frame the room.
There’s also a rain shower and Noble Isle toiletries in the adjacent bathroom. And of course, television, robes, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar and Wi-Fi all come as standard.
With no shortage of well-designed hotels across the UK, tourists are spoiled for choice, but few offer such a standout dining experience and restorative night’s sleep at such an accessible price.
Bed & breakfast only rates will start from £150; Dine and stay from £380; Chef’s tables from £100pp (excluding wine)
20 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2AH/henley.crockersuk.com