Buttercup Café

Pastorale Antiques 15 Malling Street Lewes East Sussex BN7 2RA

The Buttercup Café is the sort of place you hesitate to recommend, because it’s far too nice to share. It even feels like a secret hideaway, sharing its entrance with an antiques shop so you almost wouldn’t know it was there. Head past the antique furniture and garden ornaments, however, and you’ll find yourself in a greenery-filled courtyard, with rustic red tables set amongst tumbling plants and flowers, and bunting strung up beneath shady awnings. It’s all utterly charming: there are jam jars of fresh flowers on the tables, and food is served on pretty, mismatched vintage crockery; even the carafes of tap water come stuffed with sprigs of mint and slices of fruit. The menu is chalked up on a blackboard, and is limited to just one soup, two mains (one veggie), and a spectacularly good salad plate. All the food is seasonal, super-fresh and local (much of it wheat- and gluten-free), and it changes daily; a typical offering might be pisto soup, sweet potato and courgette bake, and Moroccan meatballs. Lunch starts serving at noon and carries on until the food is gone; if you pitch up too late, you can always console yourself with afternoon tea or a satisfying wedge of cake. And if the weather isn’t kind, there’s plenty of cosy indoor seating inside the café itself.

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