As always I have to start this post with a little rant about use it or lose it. However as I couldn’t actually get into Henry and Joe’s, Cheap Street, Newbury, for 3 weeks unless I went for lunch it would seem that this advice is being taken. Darn. Am I an idiot for putting the contact details at the bottom of this little post? What I am an idiot for is not realising that I could ask Ed, my lodger, to whip my butter at every moment that he has spare. Admittedly there aren’t many of those moments as he seems to sleep a lot but still, I am going to start leaving butter and whisks around the house in the hope that he takes the hint. Such a small thing to do, whip butter, but my what a difference a little attention to detail makes. Actually this is the wonderful thing about Henry and Joe’s. Their incredible attention to detail, their fabulous service from Joe (I so hope I have their names the right way round this time) who makes every visitor feel so special. This is the difference between a good meal and a great one. Chef Henry is superb with an amazing touch, I have never had a bad meal there and he is successfully imaginative and creative. Another chef appears to have snuck in, Chef Ben, who made the rolls and the butter below so maybe I should be singing his praises as well.
This very simple dish is basically burrata, heritage tomato, rocket, onion crumb and sesame. Simple as in pimped to the max simple. A handful of ingredients made into an exquisite dish of taste and texture.
Another amazing starter, this time it was Steve, my event manager, who had ordered salmon caesar salad with fennel pollen and parmesan. I took this photo to show the little anchovies draped artfully over the food but was encouraged to take another photo which hid the winsome, cheeky anchovies and showed off the parmesan crisps which I managed to stop myself stealing. Apparently it is really bad form to stab a colleague even if it is with a fork but I am now going to convince Steve that part of his job description (the bit we all love that says any other duties) will include …… you guessed it, butter whipping!! He will have the time, I will make sure of that.
Darn it, he was right this is a better view of the sous vide salmon that was so perfectly cooked, it was pink and perfect.
Steve and I chose the same dish which was pork cutlet, fennel, baby turnips with a superb apple and hazelnut dressing. I swapped my turnips for Jersey Royals which Henry was kind enough to do, I do hate it when other people swap out but also am not convinced by vegetable imposters. This category includes cauliflower that desperately wants to be broccoli, sweet potato that have a giant chip on their shoulder that they are not a general potato and parsnips which have always wished that they were carrots. LOSER VEGETABLES. Just settle for what you are and stop wanting what you will never get. Mind you the fennel was fantastic but did look a bit like celery. Hmm, have I just been hoisted by my own petard?
Something very strange was happening to Steve here but I am not sure what. Either a very small person had gone under the table and was doing something offensive or painful to him or he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the dish he was about to consume. Or maybe he was just thinking about what an awful lot of butter whipping was going to be part of his life from this day on. Yes, that was probably it, he will try to say he doesn’t have the time but he will have, nobody needs to sleep EVERY night.
This wonderful meal came in at £19 for two courses and for another measly £2 we could have had pudding but that would not have left enough time for butter whipping.