Mill Street Pub and Kitchen
Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from it all and escape further into the countryside which is exactly what the Muddy fam and I did recently. Spurred by the promise of good food in stylish surroundings, we set off for Mill Street in Oakham.
The restaurant is located in one of Rutland’s pretty traditional English market towns, deep in the Leicestershire countryside and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The area is buzzing with fab indie shops well worth exploring, making it the perfect place to spend the day or night as we did!
From the outside it just looks like a boring old stone building but once you step inside, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The first thing that you spot is the modern wine rack and to your right is the cosy Snug, the perfect spot for couples and small groups. Next door, the eclectic private dining room is filled with modern art and eye-catching furniture and quite possibly where I’ll be hosting my next birthday dinner!
If you’re looking for a little decor inspo for your home, you’re likely to find it in the bar/dining room decked out with plush upholstered sofas, funky wallpaper, statement mirrors and quirky skull antlers mounted on the wall.
The main restaurant opens up into a pretty conservatory flooded with light and definitely sits on the right side of cool. Your Prada bag wouldn’t look out of place here but the restaurant is completely unpretentious.
Marble tables, mid-century inspired dining chairs and quirky decor sit well in this contemporary conservatory which has been dotted with faux green plants. I loved the garden lights which were draped across the ceiling, there’s also space outside for those who want to enjoy a drink in the fresh air.
Let’s move onto the good stuff – the food. As well as a monthly and seasonal menu, there’s also a Specials board which changes 14 times a week. Yes that’s right you could come for lunch and dinner and still leave totally satisfied.
Chef, Ollie Cairns-Baker works hard to make sure his food is of the highest quality and as locally sourced as possible. He worked here when the restaurant launched, left a for a little while but couldn’t resist the pull and has been back since January putting his mark on the menu. When we sat down for dinner, Ollie was sharing his knowledge about the dishes with the waiting staff which was a nice touch.
For starters I picked the pumpkin, spinach and feta tart which was less tart and more of a flat, round biscuit pastry. It was utterly delicious and the feta’s salty, tangy flavours perked the dish right up, meanwhile Mr Muddy opted for the garlic bruschetta.
When it came to mains I went for the whole baked Plaice from the specials menu which worked really well with the roasted artichoke, crispy potatoes, parsley and lemon dressing. Mr Muddy went for the corn fed chicken breast which came with Parmesan polenta, wild mushrooms and crispy leeks.
My light and fresh main dish worked to my advantage and for once, I had room for pudding and as stated on their website ‘nothing ends a meal like a great pudding.’ We didn’t have to ponder too long and ordered the dark chocolate torte with caramelised white chocolate ice cream. I almost always prefer vanilla ice cream but as soon as I tasted this one, I was totally converted! It was sublime. The dessert, in my opinion was the star of the show but in all honesty, every single dish was spot on and I would happily return again – hopefully very soon!
If you’re planning a late or mad one, you can always book yourself a room upstairs which is exactly what we did – not that our night was late or mad! There’s seven rooms to choose from, each comes with comfy king size beds, Egyptian cotton linen and beautiful bathrooms – ours featured original exposed stone walls, and delicious Elemis goodies. The bedroom decor was more boutique hotel style – think Kelly Hoppen with dark grey walls, a four poster bed and silver accessories ohh and I lurrved the contemporary Anglepoise lamps.
You’d think after our feast for dinner and a good night sleep in our luxurious four poster bed we’d have no room for breakfast, but we did! I opted for the Veggie Full Monty with avocado and veggie sausages (hurrah) and Mr Muddy, not one to say no to the occasional fry-up, went for the Full Monty that came with local bacon, Cumberland sausage tomato, mushroom, black pudding, hash brown, beans and eggs.
OUT AND ABOUT
Regardless if you’re spending the night or not, Oakham is well worth a visit. Oakham Castle is a stone’s throw from Mill Street and the Market Place has recently been restored which you’ll pass on your travels. Stop at the Castle Cottage Cafe for coffee and cake and then explore the grounds and architecture of Oakham School which dates back to 1584.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Locals, day-trippers, families, relaxed groups of friends, stylish and casual drinkers and bar food nibblers. Veggies, those on a gluten-free diet and kids are well catered for.
Not for: Those expecting a traditional village pub or something very quiet and quaint or for those wanting a beer garden.
£££: Slightly more expensive than your typical pub, but for the up market area this is expected. The bar menu snacks start from £3 and pub classics from £11.25, ciabattas and wraps from £6. For dinner in the restaurant, starters start from £5, mains from 11.50. Monday is burger night, Tuesday is Chicken night (think loch Nandos), Wednesday is grill night, you can get half price Prosecco on Thursday and spectacular roasts on Sunday. Mill Street also has comedy night every first friday of the month and live music every third Friday of the month. Double rooms start from £90.