If you’ve been to The Culpeper, you’ll know exactly what to expect from its nearby sibling The Buxton, a Victorian pub converted into a casual restaurant with bedrooms. There aren’t many interior traces of the old boozer it used to be, though – it has been well and truly millennialised with pastel colours, plants and hanging pendants to match the original polished wood fittings.
The food, however, is still recognisably pub-grub, albeit with a gastro touch. It’s unfussy, uncomplicated, reasonably priced and – most importantly – delicious. The seasonal menu showcases largely British dishes and ingredients with a modern European accent – this goes for the wine and beer, too.
Our top tip would be to visit with a group and order lots of the bar snacks and starters to share. Highlights include Scotch eggs with a perfectly runny yolk; asparagus with creamy burrata (wonderfully summery); a light gnocchi with a refreshing wild garlic pesto, smothered in parmesan and finished with crunchy pine nuts; and, best of all, the springy hand-dived scallop, served prettily in its shell with steamed samphire and well worth the £10 price tag.
When it comes to The Buxton’s mains, though, we’re not sharing. Our stand-out bavette steak was served with charcoaled edges, perfectly pink inside and covered in a fiery chimichurri alongside tender Jersey Royals. A creamy chicken, ham and leek pie didn’t disappoint either, and the fish of the day (hake on our visit) came with a deeply flavoured shellfish sauce. Desserts are limited to two options – go for the stuffed doughnut with house preserves, served warm in a brown paper bag.
The atmosphere is distinctly pubby, too (a plus) and – sadly – so is the seating (our only negative). The tall bar stools might look the part, but will leave backs and legs aching by the end of your meal.