Plush gourmet pub The Buxton channels the vibes of a Brooklyn bar: perfectly pitched
jazz music, countertop library-lamp-style sepia lighting, and all sorts of arty-looking people. And the cooking? Mostly brilliant.
We sat at the bar counter, overlooking the neat mini-kitchen, while head chef Jamie Evans, plucked straight from sister venue The Culpeper, handed us our amuse-bouches: two dinky espresso cups filled with soothing pumpkin soup. Homemade gnocchi was another winner. Braised, hand-cut nuggets with tender pieces of skin-on squash and pretty purple kale, all coated in a lush sage butter sauce and liberally doused with parmesan. Comforting, addictive and, even, a bit dirty.
Elsewhere, an expertly cooked main of sea bass with mussels came in a light fregola-filled broth, while the pork chop was as juicy as it gets. And to finish, my favourite: two freshly fried and sugar-dusted doughnuts in a small brown paper bag, one pumped full of homemade raspberry and fig jam, the other with lemon curd. Like food critic Anton Ego in Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’, I was carried back to my childhood, when my mum would return from Tesco with a five-pack of the doughy gems. Emotional stuff. And, obviously, far better than the bog-standard sweet treats of my memories (sorry, Tesco).
There were niggles, though. The celeriac remoulade with the chop was drowned in mayo, making it sickeningly rich. And, the panna cotta wasn’t set. So, room for improvement, but I’d happily go back. I keep welling up over those doughnuts.