Review: La Popote, Marton, Cheshire

Smoked bacon with celeriac, compressed apple and chervil emulsion

Smoked bacon with celeriac, compressed apple and chervil emulsion - Credit: Lost in Cheshire

If you fancy haute cuisine in relaxed, Cheshire style, La Popote in Marton is a must-try

La Popote is one of Cheshire’s must-visit destination restaurants. There – I am getting that out right at the start. Located in Marton, a microscopic village within easy drive to Alderley Edge, Knutsford and Congleton, it’s no simple village bistrot. Instead, it offers an exploration of modern French cuisine where every dish will bring joy, delighting the diner and, hopefully, ensuring their place on Cheshire’s list of pinnacle restaurants for a long time to come. 

Westholme Waygu Rump Picanha, with a Waygu neck bonbon, rocket purée, baby gem and crispy onion - La Popote Cheshire

Westholme Waygu Rump Picanha, with a Waygu neck bonbon, rocket purée, baby gem and crispy onion - Credit: Lost in Cheshire

There’s nothing flashy about La Popote. The dining areas are quietly comfortable, the waiting staff are warm and ready to discuss menu options and make wine recommendations, there's in front of which you can sip a drink in winter. Tables are sufficiently well spaced to allow private conversations, but close enough to encourage a good atmosphere. The menus, however, are something else. 

Hand dived scallops La Popote Cheshire

Orkney Hand-Dived Scallops at La Popote - Credit: Lost in Cheshire

When we arrived on a quiet Thursday evening, we were presented with a choice of the seasonal à la carte and the menu of the week. The former gave options including Orkney Hand Dived Scallops and Guinea Fowl with WIld Asparagus, while the latter offered Spider Crab with Detox Foam and Apple, and Roasted Skate Wing with lemon and caper butter. As you won’t see the weekly menu again this summer, we opted to go à la carte, which, let’s face it, was no hardship. 

I ordered the Isle of Wight Tomato Gazpacho, with Mike choosing Smoked Bacon, with celeriac, compressed apple and chervil emulsion. But first we were treated to an amuse bouche, which was so good it barely touched the sides. A tiny serve of cauliflower veloute, with a dusting of curry salt and a sourdough crisp – unbelievably good. So much flavour in one spoonful I could have happily inhaled a whole bowlful. 

My gazpacho was light, sweetly acidic and given a creamy undertone by a squeeze of burrata foam – absolutely summer in a bowl. Mike’s smoked bacon was both soft and crisp in all the right places, the rich saltiness balanced by the sweet apple and earthy celeriac.  

Salt Aged Duck Breast, with borlotti beans and green sauce La Popote

The salt aged duck breast was soft, sweet and perfectly salted - Credit: Lost in Cheshire

For the main course, Mike chose Westholme Waygu Rump Picanha, which came with a Waygu neck bonbon, rocket purée, baby gem and crispy onion. It was, amazingly, his first experience of Waygu, and now, he says, he completely understands what all the fuss is about. Perfection, at every level. I chose the Salt Aged Duck Breast, with borlotti beans and green sauce. The duck was soft, sweet and salt (but not too much) and I demolished the lot. The beans were actually unnecessary, in my case, as we had also ordered a side of Beef Fat Confit Cabbage – oh my, this is extraordinarily good and I definitely took more than my share from the serving dish. Seriously, this is cabbage as you have never tasted it before. 

La Popote compressed Gariguette strawberries

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

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Despite two beautiful courses now being tucked away and two diners filled with contentment, there was definitely room for pudding. As my toddler used to say: my pudding tummy always has room. Feeling sensible, I opted for the Compressed Gariguette Strawberries. They were delicious – Gariguette is apparently a French variety much-loved by top chefs, and they were about as strawberry as you can get without synthetic support. They were accompanied by a scoop of vanilla parfait, making my choice the haute cuisine version of strawberries and cream, and very good it was too. Mike opted for the Leafy Lemon Sorbet, with mint Aero and lemon meringue. I can’t really explain it (it’s haute cuisine, it’s complicated!) but I can tell you it was quite the best lemon sorbet pudding I have ever experienced.