Restaurant review: The New MillBy Tom Fahey
July 27, 2011
Being talked about can be a good or bad thing. Personally, I can’t stand it, and I demand that it stops now. Do you hear me? Demand! *toys leave pram, hit floor*.
“But Tom, if you don’t want to be talked about why do you keep writing these weird reviews that no one understands?”
Ok, fine. If that’s the way you want to play it, how’s this? If I’m talked about as a result of this review, next month I will regress to the sort of predictable narrative-style where the most interesting thing you’ll find out is that
“My dining companion and I were so full… but couldn’t possibly resist the wonderful desserts”.
The choice is yours – cliché or comedy. Vote with your mouths and your tweets.
Of course, I’m not unreasonable.
If talking about me is banned, it’s only right that reasonable distraction be provided – something that really deserves your talk-time.
Why, I ask rhetorically of those who clearly don’t understand me, do we not hear more about The New Mill?
Set in a working watermill hemmed on all sided by babbling steams and river, the grounds are stunning – completely tranquil in remotest Eversley – with a conservatory looking out over the lily-pad dotted Blackwater.
It’s barely 15 minutes from Reading, but do you know anyone makes the trip?
Must be the food, right? Bit dated? Well, lining up seven sets of cutlery on the table at the start of dinner may be old hat (not to mention confusing – well, for people who don’t understand my reviews, anyway), but the cooking itself has had a recent injection of new blood.
Coworth Park alumni Sam May has plumped for the sort of menu that sheds no light on what you’ll actually be eating.
The mysterious “goats cheese, ginger, walnut” turns out to be a swipe of goats cheese cream, a goats cheese ice cream, nuggets of stem ginger, crunchy walnuts and a strip of pastry. It’s wholly adventurous and largely successful. Surely cheesy ice cream is worth a quick natter?
The most bankable dish is a main of pork tenderloin, some crisp-gooey pork belly that’s so good I’m still talking about now, a dauphinoise sandwiched around black pudding, cubes of zingy pear and a swish of garlic cream.
It’s very special actually.
There’s a ham hock terrine studded with pearl barley alongside pea puree and a crisp, runny-yolked egg. Not much to gossip about there, you say? Try a scattering of crunch-bitter cocoa nibs. Delicious? Maybe. Discussable? Definitely.
The kitchen provide three flavoured butters – honey, coriander and fennel – to match three home-baked breads.
They send a little glass of sweet potato mousse with chilli and crayfish as an amuse then a tiny chocolate tart with homemade Turkish delight before dessert.
Veggies get a forest’s worth of wild mushrooms with a long-poached egg from the waterbath that’s gooey yet sliceable (it’s quite a thing – you honestly won’t be able to shut up about it) along with char-grilled lettuce, artichoke crisps and puree. Memorable – my vegetarian is still gibbering on like a broken record.
Also worth a bit of verbal dissection is a dessert of three panna cottas. First apple, then vanilla and finally (now brace yourself) sage. The sage version is best. How’s that for controversy?
So what’s the theory now, then?
You don’t hear about The New Mill because it’s expensive, right?
Well, the a la carte borders on special occasion (and why shouldn’t it?) but a set menu comes in at £21.95 for lunch and £27.50 for dinner which, for the view alone, is reasonable.
So a stunning setting, a beautiful old building, a working watermill, river, streams and ponds, progressive, modernist food and some very good value – it’s an awful lot to talk about which leaves you with no excuse for getting on my case.
However, if at any point this month you are worried this entirely normal review might trouble your conversation, please pop off to The New Mill for a very welcome distraction.
- Telephone: 0118 973 2277
- Website: www.thenewmill.co.uk
The New Mill
New Mill Road
Eversley RG27 0RA