Les Portes Ouvertes at Côte Henley

Côte Henley finally opened its doors on Monday this week after a big refurbishment of the old Monsoon & Accessorize store on the corner of Hart Street and Bell Street.

As you enter the 130 covers restaurant there is a light and airy feel to it with a large bar area at the rear.  The design is contemporary with a French-inspired interior. Normandy artist Claire de Quénetain has worked to deliver the spirit of France with a series of bespoke mural artworks throughout the restaurant.

The menu fuses the best of French cooking with the best of British ingredients.  You’ll find all the classic French dishes, alongside modern twists, an increased repertoire of vegan dishes and lighter options all cooked under the helm of Head Chef Dhan Gurung.

Côte Henley will also be offering breakfast and weekend brunch menus, serving dishes including the classic French Croque Monsieur and signature French toast served with wild berry compote, fresh berries and crème fraîche. Guests can opt for a champagne breakfast or brunch and enjoy a glass of Laurent-Perrier NV Cuvée to complement their meal.

The restaurant will also be home to the brand-new Laurent-Perrier Garden, a first for the restaurant group. The walled garden will serve a selection of four Laurent-Perrier champagnes from the dedicated outside bar and features a bespoke floral installation that is the perfect backdrop for capturing summer moments.

Ahead of the opening on Monday, last weekend, the Côte du Roam van was parked up on Market Place offering free tasters of cheesy Croque Monsieur, alongside warming French onion soup and delicious bites of French toast. Also Côte invited a limited number of guests to preview the new space, asking visitors to ‘pay as you feel’ in exchange for trialling the new food and drink, with all donations going to the local charity Friends of Townlands Hospital (FROTH) which helps to provide additional services and equipment to help make patients’ visits more comfortable.

We were invited to sample the menu this week and our guest and Editor chose the Lunch Prix Fixe menu at a good value of £20.95 for 3 courses or £16.95 for 2.  We chose the Goats Cheese and Pear Salad which was unusual with added hazelnuts and raisins and the wild mushroom soup that was lovely and thick and creamy and was perfectly accompanied by slices of baguette bread toast.  To follow we enjoyed the chargrilled Steak Frites (a minute steak cooked pink) which was tender and really flavoursome accompanied by perfect hot and crispy fries.  It would have been nice to have a small green garnish on the side of the Steak Frites.  You can though order an array of side orders which are extra including creamed spinach, green beans etc.  The Poulet Grille (chargrilled chicken breast) was moist and perfectly cooked and came with creamy delicious Boulangere potatoes and tasty mushroom and thyme sauce.  The Chocolate Mousse to finish was sublime, velvety and smooth.  Definitely one for chocolate lovers to finish with!

David Wilkins, General Manager at Côte Henley, said: “To say we’re excited to open Côte in Henley is an understatement. We have been looking forward to opening our doors to Henley locals for a while now and we can’t wait to serve up the classic meals we’ve become well-loved for, as well as some exciting new dishes created by our Executive Chef.

“Everything from the menu to the lighting and furniture has been designed with our Henley audience in mind. We wanted to provide people with an elevated restaurant experience but, also create a space where locals could come and meet friends for no matter what their dining occasion, from a leisurely weekend brunch to Saturday night out with friends. We’re looking forward to welcoming guests in the coming days and hope they enjoy this addition to their high street.”

For more information and to book go to www.cote.co.uk/restaurant/henley/.