On a recommendation from a fellow twitterer (@stegabyte) hubby and I went down to visit the Butlers Arms near Sutton Coldfield. This is where I hail from, and have fond memories of all the pubs and bars in the Mere Green and Sutton area, and have watched them change and evolve over the years. The Butlers Arms is somewhere I went years ago (when it wasn’t great, it has to be said) but have not been since the current owners took over, several years ago.
I had heard lots of good things about the place, not least its love of great fresh fish and really good value food, so was eager to check it out.
We arrived at 7pm on a Thursday night, and the car park was full to the brim – we had to park on the road, and I was instantly regretting ignoring my sub conscious that told me to book. Luckily though, although the restaurant was busy, there were a few tables left.
Service was attentive and charming throughout, and the man (?owner) that took the orders had just right combination of wit and sarcasm to make you laugh without offending.
The menu sounded great, seasonal well sourced produce, and a decent amount of fresh fish specials on the blackboard. The presentation was rustic and the portion sizes more than generous.
For our starters we had Chicken Liver Parfait with Red Onion Marmalade and Crusty Bread and Slow Cooked Heritage Tomatoes on Ciabatta with Buffalo Mozzarella. My parfait was creamy and smooth, with just the right amount of tang from the marmalade, while Lee really enjoyed his tomato salad – good ingredients, treated and cooked well and with passion can never fail to taste good.
Already planning pudding in my head I went for a salad main course – Chicken and Mango Salad with a Spicy Mayonnaise while Lee had the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with a redcurrent and port sauce, Dauphinoise potatoes and spring greens. Requested medium rare, this came out perfectly cooked while all its accompaniments were just as good. My salad was packed full of ingredients and the addition of the mango was great. The spicy mayonnaise, although creamy and great tasting, I didn’t feel was actually that spicy, and could have done with having more of a kick for me.
Just as an aside, I LOVED the fact that on the menu, in the ‘steak’ area there was a little box describing the different levels the meat could be cooked to and the appearance that this should make them (rare, medium etc..) And the way that ‘well done’ was described as ‘dull grey’ absolutely cracked me up. How could you order well done after reading that! Having a chef husband, I know from him and his chef friends that they don’t like cooking steaks and other red meat more than medium (and usually the rarer the better) as they feel it ruins the flavour etc.. (which I agree with), and that having meat sent back because the customer perceives it as being cooked ‘wrong’ is really annoying! I guess having it written on paper means no one can argue that their meat is over or undercooked when it arrives. Genius.
With just enough room for dessert, I went for the Cheesecake of the Day (Baileys) while Lee had Almond Pannacotta with Greengage Compote. The cheesecake was flavourful and the baileys really came through. I found it a touch heavy, but still really enjoyable. The almond pannacotta was simply wonderful – a perfect wobble, and really unique flavour. I’d never tasted almond pannacotta before and Lee said it went superbly with the sweetness offset by the really sharp greengage compote. Greengages are from the plum family I think (call me a foodie?!)
So the damage for a 3 course meal, with 2 pints and a couple of soft drinks? £55. Pretty good in my book, and on Mon – Wed they do a 3 courses for £13.50 deal as well! Great ingredients, simple and rustic cooking, packed full of flavour and delivered with a smile. Their website claims they are one of Sutton Coldfields’ best kept secrets. From the busyness of the place, I’m not convinced they are still a secret…… 🙂
The Butlers Arms
444 Lichfield Rd
0121 308 0765
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own