Muddy eats: The Russell Arms, Butler’s Cross
I’ve wanted to re-review The Russell Arms in Butler’s Cross ever since it moved last year into the very safe hands of James Pennington. James also runs The Bell in Stoke Mandeville and knows how to hit the sweet spot between relaxed local and quality gastro.
The pub is in a very sweet position for a weekend walk/Sunday lunch as incredibly close to Ellesborough golf course, Coombe Hill and the Chequers estate, but it’s also ideal for meals with mates or even a more romantic outing with the other half.
I really like The Russell Arms interior, with its mix of wooden tables and modern stools, period features and simple furnishings. The jury is out on the wallpaper feature in the back room (tell me what you think if you go!), but it did give Mr Muddy and I something to talk about which after 20 years of eating out together was a Brucie bonus.
The food has always been good at The Russell Arms but it did have a stage a few years back when it was a bit painful on the wallet. You’ll find the prices more reasonable in its latest incarnation. Want to see the food? Be my guest!
I had the goats cheese mousse with apple, fig and walnut to start…
… followed by a beautifully cooked brailed pork belly with lentils, carrots and parsley. YUM. Loved the presentation too.
Dessert could have been by-passed, but you’ll never find Mr Muddy saying no to a tart (boom boom!).
The main restaurant area is out towards the back, and in summer the ‘wallpaper’ room opens out onto a pretty paved terrace, below.
The more ‘pubby’ front bit is dog friendly – just check out these locals hanging out (they’re real, I promise you!). So you can also add The Russell Arms to your list for a casual drinkie after a dog walk.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Relaxed foodies, Sunday lunchers, family walkers will all love it here.
Not for: The food is definitely on the gastro scale so if you’re after a ciabatta or soup, it may not be your bag. Energetic toddlers might find it hard to last the course without a large garden to run around in.
££: Mid-range I’d say with entrees between £5-8.50; mains from £13 for sausages through to £23 for 8 oz dry-aged sirloin; sides between £3-3.75 and dessserts starting at £4.75.
The Russell Arms, 2 Chalkshire Rd, Butlers Cross, Buck, HP17 0TS. Tel: 01296 624411. therussellarms.co.uk