After years of hearing glowing reports about the Millstone in the village of Mellor, Brian Ellis finally discovers what he’s been missing all along.
Reputations count for a lot in the food industry.
So when a restaurant like the Millstone at Mellor has been talked about in superlatives for decades, it beggars belief that the Ellis clan have not paid a visit before now.
That wrong was finally righted last weekend, although we avoided the annual Mother’s Day pilgrimage and settled for the weekly Fizzy Friday event which involved a discounted bottle of bubbles, much to the delight of Mrs E and Miss E.
And I’ve got to say it was a truly sparkling evening with some scrumptious food, wonderful atmosphere and top quality service. It’s not often my lot say this, but we couldn’t find fault in the slightest. The moment you walk into this delightful 18th century coaching inn it is warm and welcoming.
As one of the Thwaites Inns of Character, the Millstone was voted one of the country’s top five tourism pubs in 2013 and straight away you can understand why.
But, while the cosy bar was inviting while the girls sipped the fizz, it was the sumptuous dining room which really impressed with its rich upholstery and classic oak panelling. Bring on the food.
Now with two AA rosettes retained for the past 12 years the kitchen standard has got to be first class. And so it proved with the Millstone proudly declaring itself “quite simply a food lovers’ paradise.”
The menu boasts plenty of locally and regionally sourced ingredients and carries a map of the Ribble Valley to show where suppliers are located. For starters we went for the Nibbles Board to share – a selection of chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon, black pudding fritters, salt and pepper chicken wings and dips at £7.95. Ample for two and just about adequate for three, although we added an extra cauliflower cheese dish to make absolutely sure.
For mains Mrs Ellis had heard about the giant Millstone’s haddock and chips and was determined to at least attempt it – bravely choosing the “large” (£12.95) instead of the “little” (£9.95). Of course she waved the white flag, but not before giving it a jolly good go.
Daughter Amy, like most university students, loves a good curry and so went for their speciality fish version, with monkfish, scallops, haddock and prawns (£15.95).
The best she had ever tasted, she said, which, coming from someone who has spent the last three years living near Manchester’s Curry Mile, is some going. Pity then that the chef should appear at our table later to break the awful news that it would not be on a new-look menu from Monday!
I took on the Bowland steak, kidney and Wainwright ale suet pudding, with chunky chips, mushy peas and a jug of gravy on the side. Rich, tender and positively naughty at £12.95.
No room for puds after that little lot, although Miss E decided that as this was on the Evening Post she would try and force down an apricot dessert (£5.95) which, she conceded, was probably a little ambitious when it arrived.
Overall the food was delicious, perfectly cooked and beautifully served. But it was the little touches, like the waitresses in uniform, the napkin laid across your knee when you sat down and the attentiveness of all the staff which made it five-star for us.
Church Lane, Mellor, Nr Blackburn
Tel: 01254 814156