Restaurant Reviews: La Popote, Marton, Cheshire

08:59 July 19, 2022

If you like haute cuisine in a relaxed Cheshire style, La Popote in Marton is a must.

La Popote is one of Cheshire’s must-visit restaurants. There – I do it from the start. Located in Marton, a microscopic village a short drive from Alderley Edge, Knutsford and Congleton, this is no ordinary village bistro. Instead, it offers an exploration of modern French cuisine where each dish will bring joy, delight the diner and hopefully secure its place on Cheshire’s top restaurant list for a long time to come.

Westholme Waygu Rump Picanha, with Waygu Neck Candy, Mashed Arugula, Baby Jewel and Crispy Onion
– Credit: Lost in Cheshire

There is nothing flashy at La Popote. The dining rooms are quietly comfortable, the servers are warm and ready to discuss menu options and make wine recommendations, there’s something to sip a drink in front of in the winter. The tables are spaced far enough apart to allow private conversations, but close enough to promote a good atmosphere. The menus, on the other hand, are something else.

Hand Dipped Scallops La Meals Cheshire

Hand-dipped scallops in Orkney at La Popote
– Credit: Lost in Cheshire

When we arrived on a quiet Thursday evening, we were presented with a choice of seasonal dishes from the a la carte and the menu of the week. The former offered options including hand-dipped Orkney scallops and guinea fowl with wild asparagus, while the latter offered spider crab with detox foam and apple, and roasted ray wing with lemon and caper butter. As you won’t be seeing the menu of the week again this summer, we opted for the à la carte menu, which, let’s face it, wasn’t a problem.

I ordered the Isle of Wight tomato gazpacho, Mike choosing smoked bacon, with celeriac, pressed apple and chervil emulsion. But first we were treated to an amuse bouche, which was so good it barely touched the sides. A small portion of cauliflower velouté, sprinkled with curry salt and a sourdough crisp – incredibly good. So much flavor in a spoonful that I could have happily inhaled an entire bowl.

My gazpacho was light, slightly acidic and given a creamy undertone from a burrata foam squeeze – absolutely summer in a bowl. Mike’s smoky bacon was both soft and crispy in all the right places, the salty richness balanced by the sweet apple and earthy celeriac.

Duck breast aged with salt, borlotti beans and La Popote green sauce

The salt aged duck breast was moist, sweet and perfectly salty
– Credit: Lost in Cheshire

For the main course, Mike chose Westholme Waygu Rump Picanha, which came with Waygu neck candy, mashed rocket, baby jewel and crispy onions. It was, surprisingly, his first experience of Waygu, and now, he says, he fully understands what it’s all about. Perfection, at all levels. I chose the salted duck breast, with borlotti beans and a green sauce. The duck was chewy, sweet and salty (but not too much) and I tore the lot down. The beans were actually unnecessary, in my case, as we also ordered a side of beef fat confit cabbage – oh my god, it’s extraordinarily good and I definitely took more than my share of the serving dish. Seriously, this is cabbage like you’ve never tasted before.

Compressed Gariguette Strawberries La Popote

Compressed Gariguette strawberries with vanilla parfait
– Credit: Lost in Cheshire

Despite two beautiful now hidden courses and two dinners filled with contentment, there was definitely room for the pudding. As my toddler used to say: my pudding belly always has room. Sensitive, I opted for Compressed Gariguette Strawberries. They were delicious – apparently gariguette is a French variety very popular with top chefs, and they were about as strawberry as it gets without a synthetic backing. They came with a scoop of vanilla parfait, making my choice the haute cuisine version of strawberries and cream, and it was very good too. Mike opted for the Leafy Lemon Sorbet, with Aero mint and lemon meringue. I can’t really explain it (it’s haute cuisine, it’s complicated!) but I can tell you that it was quite the best lemon sorbet pudding I’ve ever tasted.

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