A new lunch menu at the Mill End
When we moved down to Devon in the early '80s this hotel was a fairly tight lipped establishment
and I can remember our first visit to it on a "getting to know where to go" evening out.
Back in those hard up days going out was a very much hard earned treat for us.
We would have been dressed up in our best clothes, taking care and attention to look smart.
Sadly the overriding memory of our evening is that we didn't quite come up to scratch as would be regular
diners, as our knowledge of wine was lamentably poor. When offered the wine list we were warmly assured that
this hotel had the very best wine cellar in the area. So when we asked for a glass of house whatever, the game was
up, as our wine selection had given out the signal that we were not the kind of clients that the hotel was looking for.
But these days, the hotel has much more friendly owners. Peter and Sue Davies have been at the helm for the last couple of years now during which time the hotel has become much more a place for relaxation and enjoyment.
So when Mike Coombes the manager rang yesterday to ask if we would like to try out their new lunch menu I was
very pleased to go over and give it a try. I've taken photos of all manner of things here over the past few years.
Photos of visiting guests, wedding shots, room photos for the hotel website and memorable celebration parties.
The staff know my face, so I nipped into the kitchen to take these 2 shots under the heat lights at the servery.
I rate Chef Chris Billingsley. He knows his stuff and uses local food providers. Lucky me, I'm starting this meal with
his classic Bouillabaise. It's the first time I've had grated gruyere cheese as an accompaniment but I'm keen to give
it and the 2 croutons a try. The smell coming from the bowl is great. I'm not too fond of the mackerel involvement,
it's slightly discordant, but the mullet, sea bass, king prawn and mussels are good and the liquor is just right.
Rob choses the Twice Cooked Chagford Belly Pork over the Goat's Cheese Tart and it's every bit as good
as the close up shot (up above) portrays. I know because I had a forkful. The apple was cooked
to perfection. Peter the Polish waiter is always cheerful and charming. He asks if we would care
for anything to drink and doesn't mind a bit that we only choose a glass of house white.
At £16 for 2 courses or £20 for 3 courses, I was glad that we went straight into a mains and pudding.
My Sticky Toffee Pudding with clotted cream was a real midweek treat and ample to fill me up.
And Rob thoroughly enjoyed his Hot Chocolate Brownie with home made vanilla ice cream. The whole thing got
a thumbs up from us. At just £20 each plus drinks I think it's a reasonably priced habit that we could well take up.
For any Bride wondering if this might be a suitable venue for a wedding reception, I suggest this lunch
menu would provide a good way to sample the fare on offer and take the opportunity to have a good
look round the hotel, grounds and impressive garden. If you need to chat about your big day, speak
to Mike the hotel manager, seen here checking final details with Toastmaster Nigel Fortnam.
You can find details of accommodation, menus and weddings on the hotel website
Thank you for the invitation Mike. We enjoyed it all - Jill