Situated just west of Henley, down winding country lanes, The Crooked Billet is everything that’s wonderful about British gastropubs. Seasonal ingredients, carefully prepared, beautifully presented. Paul Clerehugh knows what he’s doing. There are low ceilings, log fires and a cosy atmosphere. Perfect for a meal on a cold November evening.
Starter – Partridge breasts, braised red cabbage, parsnip purée, parsnip crisps
The partridge was perfectly cooked – slightly pink in the middle – and stood up well to the rich cabbage. The crisps added a lovely textural contrast.
Main – Pink carved venison, haggis, baby spinach, roast figs, port and juniper
Probably the best venison I’ve had. The port and figs are a superb choice, I’m definitely going to borrow that. Haggis just fits – the herby/spices flavour works great with the very gamey meat. Wonderful.
Dessert – Syrup Pudding with Custard and Ice Cream
I love traditional steamed sponge puddings, especially at this time of year. Much lighter than I expected with a lovely sweet syrup. Very nice. I have to admit to some considerable envy – one of my fellow diners opted for the chocolate banana bread which was really magnificent.
A lovely way to finish the meal: smooth, rich and creamy.