Situated in the heart of Market Drayton, The Buttercross has recently had a serious facelift in decor and food offerings. Editor Ellen Pope takes a drive to the Shropshire countryside to check out the new big name in Market Drayton.
The Buttercross in Market Drayton has recently been taken over and has seen a substantial shift from a coffee shop into a bistro by day and fine dining restaurant in the evening. A brave move in the post-Covid era where hospitality isn't quite back fully onto its feet. But The Buttercross has managed to balance the fine line between creating interesting food without alienating any previous customers, which isn't an easy thing to do in the midst of change.
The famous artist Rembrandt once said, "A work is finished when an artist realizes his intentions". You may ask why I am talking about paint and not about beef but bear with me. Since dining at The Buttercross I have tried to find a phrase to sum up the entire menu, and the ethos - and why make a quote up when Mr Rembrant said it so eloquently.
Under the helm of a brand new kitchen, and with the garden of Staffordshire and Shropshire on your doorstep it could be quite easy for a Chef to just throw absolutely everything at a brand new menu. Why have one ingredient when you could have 18? Bring on the foam, the smoke, the splattered plates. And this was one of my most prominent observations as I drove home, The Buttercross knows its ingredients, and lets them sing. They know when to start, and they know when to stop.
So I dined in the evening at The Buttercross, but the bistro opens for breakfast and through lunch offering a range of dishes including full English breakfasts, Croque Monsieurs and Egg Royals to start the day and a range of sandwiches and warm plates to get you through lunch and into the early evening.
After 5pm the bistro changes to its evening menu. The bistro has a strong ethos based on sustainability and seasonality, so be prepared for the menu to change frequently. When we dined we were treated to a range of current and upcoming dishes. Which included perfectly fried beer-battered cod with black onion seed sauce as an amuse-bouche, and it really did awaken the palate for the rest of the evening.
We were then offered a locally sourced bread course, with flavoured butter. It is in the starter section that you really start to see the talents of the Head Chef and team. A range of locally sourced options, we tried the Salmon and Cod Fishcakes with Pea Puree and Goats Cheese with Beetroot and Pomegranate. Both delivered clean flavours and were cooked to perfection.
For mains, we went for chicken and guinea fowl roulade and a venison dish with beetroot. Both dishes I could have quite easily eaten again. You know those plates , where you get a bit internally grumpy because it is coming to the end? Like an encore at your favourite gig - you want to keep dancing, but you know this is wrapping up.
The chicken and guinea fowl is a winning dish and subtly blends both flavours, appealing to those who like game and those who want an introduction to game. The venison was complimented with rich earthy flavours of beetroot, and a jus packed with flavour. We also tested a "coming soon' dish which saw the Sunday roast reimagined into an evening dish. But you'll have to wait for that to be launched.
The Buttercross aims to feed you well. Between main and dessert was a pre-dessert. A chocolate pot that takes the diner from savoury into the realms of sweet.
For dessert, we decided to cover all bases. An indulgent Sticky Toffee Pudding and a refreshing Lemon Posset. When it comes to puddings, usually one diner 'wins'. At the end of the meal, we ended on a deuce. The Sticky Toffee Pudding was indulgent but unbelievably light, with an airy sponge and just the right amount of sauce. The posset was tart, creamy and moreish, leaving you refreshed but still with the sides of your mouth intact - a perfect balance of citrus.
To leave, a handful of locally handmade chocolates leaves you with something to eat in the car on the way home.
The Buttercross has potential, its star is rising and I feel within 12 months will cement itself as a destination restaurant. At the moment its diary is filling up with local customers keen to try something different. It won't be long until this restaurant has a waiting list, so I recommend getting in early.
In a time when we all stood still, it is refreshing to see a business rising from the ashes of Covid with a new swag. Well done The Buttercross.
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Chatting Food Contributor: Ellen Pope
Self-confessed potty mouth, mother of pooch and eater of 99.9% of food (don't bring me marzipan and tell me it is food). Ellen is the founder and Editor of Chatting Food Magazine and on a one-woman mission to talk food to everyone. Usually found tweeting, eating, sleeping, repeating.