I have really fond memories of The Butchers Arms, in Greens Norton (literally 2 miles from Towcester).
I was 15 years old when my friends and I used to hang out around the village and we'd pop into the pub for a glass of coke during the day, or we'd come with our parents in the evening. As the only pub in the village, it was a solid place to meet and socialise.
Sadly, The Butchers Arms closed, which was obviously a huge loss for those locally. But luckily, thanks to the Proper Pub Co, this pub has been rescued and restored to life since 2017 and I for one am very pleased to see it back in business.
That's why I was very excited to be invited to review their Autumn menu. Plus, it was a perfect excuse to bring Josh with me and call it a date night.
We arrived at 7pm on a windy and rainy Tuesday night, shivering from the cold temperature outside, but as soon as we walked into The Butchers Arms, we were not only greeted with a warm welcome but from the warmth of the building and what awaited inside...
My recall of The Butchers Arms of what it used to look like was small, dark and dreary. This was a complete transformation compared to that previous image.
I loved the decor and colours used inside, from the navy blue walls, the rustic wooden tables, to the grey dining chairs and the wonderful display of artwork around the restaurant; making it feel very warm and cosy.
We were greeted by our smiley and friendly waitress, Lauren, who made us feel very at home from the moment we sat down at our table. She had no hesitation in reading us the specials and asking us if we wanted any drinks.
At the time of dining, I was still doing my Sober for October campaign for Macmillan, so I wasn't going to drink any alcoholic beverages. However, I didn't just want to drink a coke or lemonade (because that's boring!) So I asked our waitress whether they had any non-alcoholic drinks like Mocktails.
Unfortunately, they didn't do this, but that was quickly turned around when she suggested I tried a non-alcoholic liqueur that when added to a tonic, tasted like gin. This was something I was willing to get on board with!
Turns out, it tasted just like Gin and Tonic! Lauren was even kind enough to bring the bottle out to show me; it was Seedlip Garden, a non-alcoholic liqueur.
The fact they were able to accommodate my Sober for October campaign by providing me with this substitute was easily the highlight of my evening. A great start!
Looking around, we noticed there were customers of all different types sat around us, which indicated that this, indeed, was a family-friendly pub with a cosy setting and a wonderful atmosphere. It was obvious it was a firm favourite with the locals.
Another thing to add is that we liked how the restaurant area was separate to the dining area, which is always a plus, especially if you're going for a quiet evening. Nonetheless, the bar wasn't overcrowded or busy, so there was nothing to disturb us from having a peaceful evening.
When it comes to food, I'm not very adventurous when it comes to dining at restaurants... even for a food blogger like me!
I usually like to stick with firm favourites, because I know I'm going to like them no matter where I eat and to play it safe in case I don't like something.
However, I decided to make it my mission to try dishes that were out of my normal comfort zone. So when I was browsing through the menu, I tried to pick things that I wouldn't usually pick.
Once we made our decision, Lauren was prompt in coming over and asking for our orders. She really is an asset to the team at The Butchers Arms, as not only did she come to our table in good time, but she offered great chat and made us feel at ease during our visit.
Once we ordered, we were able to sit down, relax and enjoy each others company during our date night.
Our starters came within 15 minutes and I knew looking at mine, I had made the right choice.
I opted for a Curried Parsnip soup, which was their Soup of the day at the time; a simple dish, but certainly not in terms of taste. The first sip I took I remember uttering the words: Woah, Josh taste this now!
The curry spices mixed with the sweet parsnip flavour and smooth texture made this the perfect autumn soup that I wanted more and more of. Add that with slices of buttery french stick and you've got yourself a winning combination. Now all I can think about is how much I want the recipe...
Josh went for the Duck Liver Parfait which I also took a bite of (we make it a habit of ordering different dishes then trying each others food) and the flavours were immense!
Perhaps if I were to add anything to it, a chutney or something to add on top of the duck liver parfait to mix it up would have been nice, but we certainly had no complaints about the taste of the dish itself.
Although the dishes were small, you couldn't have asked for more in a starter, as it was a good amount to get our taste buds tingling before our main courses...
Luckily, our main courses took enough time for us to rest after our starters and it was certainly worth the wait!
My attempt to go for a main course that I wouldn't normally go for definitely paid off: Slow cooked belly of pork with wholegrain mustard creamed mash, honey roasted heritage carrots, sauteed savoy cabbage, burnt apple puree and a rich cider jus.
The pork practically fell apart every time I touched it with my fork and every bite of pork just melted in my mouth. The mash potato with mustard was not as strong as I anticipated, which was just perfect, as there was enough sweet and spicy flavours to enjoy, without it heating up my mouth too much.
My favourite part of the dish was the pork crackling that was succulently crunchy with the sweetness of the apple puree. If there's one thing The Butchers Arms do well, is they put 110% into their flavour combinations on every plate they serve.
Josh originally went for a Steak and Ale pie, but unfortunately, they didn't have this, so he went for the Chicken, Leek and Ham pie with cheesy mash potato, seasonal vegetables and proper gravy.
At the end of eating, Josh commented how he was glad he chose the Chicken, Leek and Ham pie instead of Steak and Ale, as he usually always goes for the first option - again, having a taste, the pastry was crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside and Chicken, Leek and Ham have never tasted so good together before.
I had a taste of the cheesy mash and I actually got food envy, due to how creamy it was. And because we went on a Tuesday night, which was pie night, one of the special deals they run during weekdays, Josh was able to enjoy a nice glass of Merlot red wine which came with the meal to complement.
Overall, we were more than satisfied with our main courses and just when we thought we were about to call it quits, Lauren came over to ask if we wanted dessert...
Obviously, we said yes!
I spotted a Crème brûlée on the menu; a firm favourite of mine, but as this is a dish I usually choose when going out to eat, I wanted to get something different.
The dessert on the special's board caught my eye, so I opted for that and Josh went for the Crème brûlée, so I didn't miss out.
My Pear and Strawberry Crumble with custard was truly something special. In fact, it might actually be the dish of the night for me. The crumble was delicate and crumbly and the sweetness of the strawberry and pear went perfectly together as if they were made for each other.
Pouring the custard on top made it even better, as custard is such a home comfort food to me during the colder months, so this really completed the dish.
Josh's Crème brûlée was just as delightful, creamy and sweet! Although, I am really pleased I opted for something different!
Overall, the evening was truly a success. We were able to sit in a comfortable, friendly environment, enjoy our date night and we ate some delicious food with flavours that excel anywhere else I have been to for a long time.
We enjoyed our visit here so much, that we went to sit at the bar afterwards and ordered ourselves another drink each (more Seedlip for me!)
It's clear that The Butchers Arms is somewhere that everyone can enjoy, young or old and there is plenty going on in this small, but vibrant countryside pub.
Now I have a firm favourite that I will 100% be returning to and having a proper drink at when I can drink again!
If you're in the South Northamptonshire area and are looking for somewhere that's on the outskirts, but has plenty of character, warmth and the most flavoursome food you'll ever taste - head to The Butchers Arms.
Overall, our starters ranged from £5-£6, mains around £12-£16, desserts at £6-£7 and drinks around £2.90-£5.50.
*This meal was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions, photos and food loving are my own.*