Henrietta is a new 18 bedroom hotel on Henrietta Street, right in the heart of Covent Garden. It’s an area which is fast becoming known for food what with Frenchie, Encante, Sibarita and Balthazar, not to mention Shake Shack and MEATmarket all within belching distance.
But back to Henrietta, which houses a ground floor restaurant. At the helm, although not present in the kitchen on our visit, Ollie Dabbous, he of recent closure Barnyard and soon-to-close Dabbous. The latter I really liked.
The dining room is vibey on a Thursday night trip; lots of chatter, lots of noise, lots of fun. The open plan kitchen adds background drama and the staff, most tatted and pierced to the nines, are ridiculously attractive. The bubbly booth seats, you’ll see what I mean when you go, are a touch uncomfortable though as you can’t get close enough to your table.
The food is brilliant, no doubt about it. We start with a flatbread topped with freshly picked crab (£10). It’s drenched in garlic butter and there are coastal herbs for added texture. Both starters; burrata with wild strawberries (£8) and beef tartare with nasturtium (£11) are so sweet they could be puddings but we enjoy them so much, we don’t care. Burrata and strawberries are excellent bedfellows I’ll have you know.
Slow cooked saddleback pork (£18) is a piece of meat most unusual. It has been slow cooked then fried giving it both soft and crisp textures. To top it off there’s melted lardo (pig fat) sitting on top. It’s marvellous.
It’s the warm potted shrimps that accompany the day boat Cornish cod (£19) that really get me going. They add a buttery-seafood-saltiness which is the most comforting of things.
The only annoying thing on the menu is the fact they call chips (£4.50), very decent chips in fact, “fried agria potatoes”, which seems so unnecessarily pretentious. Agria is the type of potato but, still, call a chip a chip and be done with it!
Pudding is simple perfection: freshly baked madeleines with chantilly cream (£8), which are worth every millisecond of their 15 minute wait time. If you love the St John madeleines, these are even better. Chewy, crispy, soft, fluffy, moist. HEAVEN.
We leave Henrietta with that buzzy feeling you get from a good meal. It has all the markings of a great restaurant; super friendly staff who genuinely care about what they’re doing, exciting food with top quality produce and a pretty dining room. I just wish those chairs were a bit more comfy.
Would we go back? Yes