With the Chilterns Tourism Network
THE autumnal flavours of cream of celeriac velouté, locally sourced Haddenham lamb, and chocolate and chilli tart marked the change of seasons at the lovely Russell Arms pub in Butlers Cross.
After facing an uncertain future on an ancient junction at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, villagers formed a rescue group to save their much-loved landmark from decay, a building that had been in use for the past 250 years.
Once a coaching house turned servants’ quarters for staff at Chequers, the nearby prime ministerial country retreat, the pub continues to serve refreshments to the current incumbent when he (or she), is in residence.
Not far away, the team behind Wendover’s famous cheese and wine shop, No.2 Pound Street, heard about the plight of this delightful country pub, deciding there and then to restore the Russell Arms to its former glory.
Hours of sheer hard work has resulted in the Russell Arms now back as the hub of the community, complete with open fires, stone flagged floors, large dining room and split level gardens.
It is this partnership of hospitality, food and wine that is very much in evidence now, as I sampled the new autumnal menu with guests who included David Nichols, a local butcher who has been in the meat trade all his life and was responsible for the succulent Haddenham lamb now on our plates.
The wines were chosen specially by Mike of No.2 Pound Street, who has an amazing knowledge and searches for makers who are not mass-producing or interfering with the natural process too much. He hosts regular wine-tastings at his shop and if, like me, you are looking for new and reasonably priced wines, then speak to him. Visit www.russellarms.co.uk. It is always a pleasure to see how a local hospitality business can breathe life back into a community, support local food producers and serve inspirational fare.
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The Russell Arms pub was saved from closure by the villagers of Butlers Cross and is now a popular destination for lovers of good food