Was the Chateau Marmot pop-up worth it?
Hmmm, you’ve reached an older feature - let’s get you up to date! Read our latest EAT OUT features here.
I went to Henley on Friday night, where I tried out the Chateau Marmot pop up restaurant I told you about back in August. Had too much fun, and felt rough as a dog all yesterday (yes readers, I had to go to bed the same time as my 10 year old son!).
Both the Friday and Saturday night sittings were sold out, but it’s worth reviewing so that you have to the info to decide whether to go to future events or not – there’s an eight-day Chateau Marmot stretch in the offing in London in Oct/Nov with LA pop-up restaurant pioneer Laurent Quenioux. I’m also hoping to connect the Chateau Marmot guys with other cool potential pop up venues in Bucks and Oxfordshire next year – because why should Henley have all the fun?!
The Henley Chateau Marmot was held in the gorgeous glass and timber building of the Rowing & River Museum (above). On a sunny evening we’d have enjoyed views out over the river of course, but it was tanking it down on Friday, so we all shuttled through into the building as fast as we could.
Though the 5 course tasting menu was obviously the calling card of the evening, overseen as it was by Ottolenghi executive chef Ramael Scully and colleague Christopher Lyon of Nopi in Soho, for me the evening was as much about the sense of occasion and the fun of doing something totally different. For starters Henley is a good 45 minutes away for me so Mr Muddy and I stayed over for the night at the Hotel du Vin, about 5 minutes from the venue, so we could avoid a yawnsome taxi home and gain a night away from the kids (result!)
So to the night itself. Well, I did what I usually did and got a bit piddled and forgot to take pictures of several food courses – an accurate Muddy marker to how good the evening’s been.
Here was the menu if you can read it for all my red wine spillages.
I’m afraid I didn’t take photos of an absolutely incredible show roast ‘Chiltern black pig’ pork belly, with apple and pear puree and nasi goreng stuffed cabbage. Nor the pan-fried mackerel with my new favourite vegetable kohlrabi which I first tried at The Hundred pub in Ashendon last month.
The cost of the food on the evening was £48 per person, with wine on top. Wines were good actually, and out of journalistic curiosity I continued to try them all night (see what I do for you).
The presentation of the food was lovely as you can see, and I’m a big fan of tasting menus – a little bit of a lot of what you fancy – and the vibe was really good in the room, it felt more like a wedding than an evening at a restaurant.
I’d suggest to Chateau Marmot that they perhaps ‘brand’ the night more, to underline their involvement and its pop-up specialness – a big banner on the wall, perhaps more of a statement on the dressing of the room, an introduction from the team when everyone is seated to give it a bigger sense of occasion. There were some staffing issues too, where a couple of local teenagers hadn’t turned up, which meant initial seating and cocktail delivery was a bit slow.
BUT Mr Muddy and I found it different, fun, a reason to dress up, an opportunity to hang out with a new Marlow-based set of friends, and of course eat great food in an unusual location.
It’s a Muddy thumbs up from me.