Restauranteur Daren Gillett has set up his own pub company and secured a site with Brakspear.
Gillett, who has previously worked at venues including Gaucho Grill, Rainforest Cafe and Conran Restaurants, as well as the Bell Inn in Charlbury, has set up Marco Polo Pubs. He has now taken on the Station House in Henley, which he will run with head chef Marianne Wit, who has had stints at a number of London restaurants, including La Trompette in Chiswick and the Glass House in Kew, both Michelin-starred.
The Station House is Gillett and Wit’s first business together, as he explains, “Marianne and I have worked together before and decided we wanted to run our own eatery outside London. When we viewed the Station House, we knew it would be perfect for Marianne’s style of food and the informal dining atmosphere we wanted to create.”
The menu includes: twice cooked pork belly, fried chicken with a sweetcorn dip and salt cod fishcakes with saffron mayonnaise, while vegetable options include leek vinaigrette with chopped egg and chives, roasted spiced cauliflower with Oxford Blue or ‘secret’ mash.
All small plates can be upsized to main course size and the menu will also offer some pub favourites such as fish & chips, sausage & mash and burgers, as well as a changing specials board. Desserts include cheesecake with salted caramel sauce or fruit salad with Champagne granita, while on Sundays, a brunch menu offers several egg dishes as well as more unusual items such as chorizo & tomato pan and tortilla.
Drinks include a range of Brakspear beers, with an ale from the Bell Street Brewery in Henley permanently on tap, as well as a range of wines and a selection of English craft gins.
Gillett said: “Marianne and I are excited about starting our new business in Henley, where there’s a vibrant eating and drinking scene which creates a great opportunity for us. There’s nothing quite like Marianne’s style of cooking on offer in the town so we’re confident that we will attract a following from diners looking for top quality food at good value prices, served in a warm, relaxed environment.
“We’re looking forward to opening our doors next month and getting to know Henley’s dining customers. As with any new independent business, we have plans but are flexible, so we will be open to feedback and suggestions to help us develop the Station House.”
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “We’re delighted to be reopening the Station House. Darren and Marianne are both hugely talented and experienced and we’re confident they will quickly turn the pub into one of Henley’s favourite drinking and dining spots.”