Crockers New Ember Restaurant Sparks Flaming Flavours

Crockers Henley in Market Place have launched their Ember á la carte restaurant.

Headed up by former National Chef of Wales, Tom Westerland, Ember offers an exciting range of seasonal dishes cooked over coals and inspired by fire and flame. You can choose from a daily menu, set lunch menu or an evening-only tasting menu.

We were invited to sample the dinner tasting 6-course menu with matching wines last week.  We started off with two dishes of cheddar tiger bread served with Branston Pickle butter and rabbit topped with rarebit sauce and Wiltshire Truffle.  The bread was light and airy with not too much crust and the butter complemented it very well.  The rabbit was moist, tender and beautifully cooked with the sauce and truffle topping and was the perfect showcase to a menu which offers unusual ingredients and dishes cooked over flames.

Next up was a duck parfait made with barbecue pineapple, rummy raisins and hazelnuts served with a brioche.  Although this dish was made with different ingredients to make it unique, my guest and I thought it was just a bit too sweet.

Tom’s signature dish was to follow; Octopus cooked in Kentucky spices served with a chorizo sauce on a bed of cucumber.  This dish certainly was the star of the menu with the octopus perfectly cooked, succulent and the spices at just the right level not to overpower it.

The main dish of Beef fillet was served with smoked onion, red cabbage and a bone marrow sauce.  The beef was tender, flavoursome and a good size portion for a tasting menu.  The beef is served quite rare so if you like it more medium, I would tell the waiter/waitress when ordering.

There were two sweets to finish!  The first was a cute replication of a 1970s Fab ice lolly which cleansed the palette and had a full on sweet strawberry taste. The last dessert was called Ember and represented a coal fire with two sublime chocolate truffles, sitting on toasted mandarin with shards of poppy candy – a full on mouth-tasting explosion to finish.

The dinner tasting menu is £70 per person – wines are extra. The set lunch menu is £20 for 2 courses and £25 for 3 courses.

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