I have always loved my little trips out into Rutland - because more often than not you are going to stumble on a little gem of a place to eat and drink.
In fact we passed a couple of well known ones - in Exton and Whitwell - en route to our destination - and another great find - the Mill Street Pub and Kitchen in Oakham.
It’s an old and imposing building in the narrow town centre street but gives nothing away as to what lies inside after a huge refurbishment prior to its opening six or seven weeks ago as part of the now four-strong Epic Pubs group..
The main drinking area is comfortable, there’s a lovely little snug and a stunning private dining room. Behind the bar lies the main dining area set off by a newly built conservatory where we rested ourselves - nice and bright but not to hot on a late summer’s afternoon.
The menu is classic gastro pub with some nice little touches - pickled shallots and chestnuts as a side order for instance, or a great sandwich selection featuring confit duck and hoi sin, Oriental salad or maybe crispy cod cheeks with curried cucumber riata.
No grumbles with the choice of starters, including the duck Scotch egg on the specials board.
I expected a big burst of flavour from my braised beef cheeks and I wasn’t disappointed; absolutely lovely. Three hearty chunks of meat on a big (for a starter) bed of salsify and wild mushroom risotto which was very enjoyable with tasty artichoke crisps (£7.50) .
Donna, meanwhile, adored the gin-cured trout (from Rutland Water, naturally); a great fresh-tasting flavour with a nice beetroot remoulade and fiery horseradish mousse (£6.50).
Both nicely presented (I did like the crockery), a terrific start, and things continued in the same vein with the mains,
My rolled lamb shoulder (the best cut imo) was divine - no fat or gristle just beautiful tasting dark meat, moist and tender.
It came with a well seasoned potato terrine, unusual but rather morish curry mayo and bok choi (£16.50)..
And across the table a lovely piece of pan fried hake, on a delicious chorizo and Borlotti bean stew with samphire and mussels. A mouth-watering combination (£16.75).
The service was relaxed but attentive making for the most enjoyable lunch for some time.
VENUE: Mill Street Pub and Kitchen, 6 Mill Street, Oakham,Rutland, LE15 6EA Tel: 01572 729 600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Online www.millstreetoakham.com
BRAD’S RATING: 9
FROM THE LUNCH MENU
Salt & Pink Peppercorn Cornish Squid £8.25
With oyster mayo & sea herbs
Duck & Guinea Fowl Terrine £7.00
With autumn root vegetables, celeriac ketchup
Whipped Melton Mowbray Stilton £6.50
With cider caramel, pickled walnuts and apple
Pumpkin & Parmesan Gnocchi £12.00
with oyster mushroom fricasée & crispy sage
Maple Glazed Pork Belly £15.50
Savoy cabbage and bacon, ham hock croquette, apple sauce
Grilled Whole Brixham Plaice £13.75
Pink Fir potatoes, caper & parsley butter sauce
Corn-fed Chicken Breast £13.75
Creamed mash, charred leeks & romanesque, salsa verdi
Wild Venison Loin £23.00 Parsnip & turnip hash, purple kale, cranberry & port jus
Roast Rack of Lamb to Share £42.00
Salt baked potatoes, minted peas & red wine gravy